Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Doing the jetlag thing

It's 5:37 in the morning and I wouldn't be up (probably) if it were not for the jetlag and for some weird nightmare a certain person I was sleeping next to had...

Yesterday I woke up bright and early and drove to the airport with my parents.

(boring flight story ahead)
I was lucky to have gotten back to Israel in time - all the flights out of Chicago Sunday night were delayed and the friendly people at the Delta check-in informed me that there was no way they could get me to Atlanta in time for my connection. At the last minute, I was able to switch flights to another flight that was running too late for me to get my connection... The stewardess actually asked all of the other passengers to remain seated so that the two other guys and I could zip off the plane as fast as possible. We RAN across the terminal, onto the train, off the train, down the halls & finally, really out of breath, reached the gate, where they greeted me with my name. I was literally in tears getting on the plane - knowing that if I missed this flight, it was a full 24 hours before I could get on the next one. It took me about half an hour to catch my breath, but I have never been happier to be on a plane before in my life (I have no fear of flying, I just hate it). Anyway, aside from the fact that there were a whole bunch of people waiting for me here, I knew that missing the flight would also mean missing the opportunity to greet Kirby & her husband.

Kirby's actually the first person I've met in person after reading her blog. I'm really looking forward to getting to know her.

I keep thinking about Thalia's comment about the BlogHer conference being all about "getting the brand out there" and it is so far from the reason that I or most other people were there. Some of the issues were technical (Did you know that you could use different rss feeds for different tags, for example? I didn't. Have you ever wondered how you could completely change the template without wrecking old posts or export your Blogger blog to WordPress?) Some had to do with handling comments (Do you delete negative comments? Do you turn off comments altogether?) Some had to do with handling multiple blogs on multiple topics (Do you have both a marketing blog and an infertility blog & how do you keep them separate and find time to update both? When is a blog considered dead & should you leave it up anyway?) And then there were others about monetizing your blog (How does it change what you write? Should you allow it to change what you write? In what ways are you obligated to your readers if you do product reviews?) and sessions about "From blog to book" - for women who want to get published - how to do it, what sells, etc. I went there to get ideas and hopefully, once the jetlag starts to wear off, I'll actually figure out if I did and what they are... In any case, I felt there was a lot to learn.
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Oh, weird. I just turned around and it's light out. And here I was thinking it was still night. I'd better go back and try to get some sleep. Today is going to be a long day...

Friday, July 27, 2007

BlogHer Conference

Here I am in Chicago, writing from the BlogHer conference.

It's a great conference and I'm enjoying meeting lots of people and getting great freebies... Being away is exciting and refreshing on one hand, but I'm running myself ragged, so I'm so tired my eyes are practically closing. I'm about to become one of those people who falls asleep in the middle of a session... well, I would be, if I weren't busy networking instead of going to the actual session (oops)... that, and talking to my mother's 2nd cousin on the phone.

Infertility bloggers seem to have no representation here, which isn't that surprising. I met one blogger who blogs about depression, which is similar in the privacy aspects, but not too many who are blogging about really personal topics. Amazingly, during the "speed dating" session (two big circles, 1 minute per meeting) several women told me that they were going to look up my blog and that they were unaware that there are infertility bloggers or an informal infertility blogging community.

The main question I keep being asked is how blogging about infertility helps women, men & couples. The second is what part do men take in the whole process (and no, I'm not talking about the little-cup-in-a-brown-paper-bag part). I gave my answers, but I'd appreciate any insight.

All my best from Chicago :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Post #102

I can't believe I missed my own 100th post. Oh well...

Today is a fast day & the fast ends at 8:12 pm. My plane to Chicago (via Newark) takes off at 12:05 am & I'm supposed to be at the airport 3 hours before that... Between 8:12 and the time I leave the house I need to:

- eat
- cut Ohad's hair (no haircutting during the 3 weeks before Tisha B'Av)
- cut Matan's hair (same)
- take a shower (no showering on the day of Tisha B'av & no way I'm getting on a trans-atlantic flight without having showered in the past few hours.)

and probably a gazillion other things I've forgotten... Fortunately, we live a little less than 20 minutes from the airport. I hope I'll get there before 9:30...

My magnets, of course, didn't end up coming in on time. The guys at the printing place were trying to explain to me that it isn't such a big deal - they're only going to be a day late... Maybe someone else will be able to carry some of them for me and maybe not.

Let me just say thank you to my incredibly amazing and brave husband, Ohad (who never reads my blog) who is staying home with Abigail (2&4 months) and Nomi (1&4 months) just so that I can have a break...

I look forward to meeting some of you at BlogHer 2007!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Introducing me in 10 seconds...

The current task is to try to introduce myself in ten seconds or less... Here's my attempt:


I'm 38, married & a work-at-home mom. I've lived in Israel since I turned 16. I have more ideas than time & lots of dreams for the future.

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I started this blog as a platform to answer questions, discuss various infertility topics and present news and research. Sometimes (especially recently) I talk about my life. It's kind of tricky, because I write about infertility (of which I am a survivor) but I actually have a house full of kids (5, 3 conceived with the help of IVF).

I have really enjoyed becoming a part of the infertility blogosphere and as time goes by, more and more of the blogs I read have become mommy-blogs. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it.

Better late than never?

OK, so this was the week of the virtual world tour and it took me too long to get the pictures and then to transfer them to my computer. Here they are anyway...



On Tuesday, I drove to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. This is where I had my first successful IVF.


We drove via Mevasseret, kind of the 'back roads' - closer & less traffic.

Here's Hadassah Ein Kerem (not to be confused with the other Hadassah hospital at Mount Scopus) up on the hill.

Getting closer...

The new Mother and Child Center. It's actually not that new anymore, but it wasn't around when I was doing IVF there.

The famous Chagall Synagogue (hiding behind the bus stop). We were kind of in a rush...

This is Hadas, my IVF baby that was 'made' and born at Hadassah Ein Kerem. (The similarity between her name & the name of the hospital is coincidental.)

Special thanks to Hadas who took all the pictures, except this last one :-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Updates...

First of all, I promised more information - I'm going to be at BlogHer 2007 in Chicago next week. I'm hoping to start a discussion on the use of widgets to encourage reader participation in blogs, with the most successful of these that I've employed so far being the Yedda widget (you can see it on the right sidebar below). I haven't been in the US since April 1994, so it's been a while.

In order to be able to go, I needed to finalize Nomi's weaning. Nomi, as you may or may not remember, is almost 16-months-old and is allergic to just about everything (milk, eggs, sesame seeds, tree nuts, peanuts, and bananas), so nursing her was a safe solution. Except that some things really pass through the milk. For a few months I was completely off these things (great for weight loss), but as time went by, I ended up staying off eggs, nuts and peanuts and sesame seeds (which seem to give her the worst reaction). So since October, I've avoided them almost completely. Now that Nomi hasn't nursed for almost 4 days & there's no chance I'll put her back on, I can finally eat these again - so here's my question:



Back to infertility issues. I read all of Peggy Orenstein's article in Sunday's New York Times. I liked the article and thought it was written well. I recommend it to anyone who's considering using either sperm or egg donation.

Karen is now on bedrest after her cervix seems to have shortened. I hope her doctor will soon go back to talking about the planned c-section at 34 weeks.

Watson had a scare this week. Having been through the same (without the PGD), it makes me annoyed at the medical staff who passes on partial information without thinking of the implications. Fortunately, the doctor who did my scan gave me a lot more information before I went home.

Faith is also going through a scare. Weren't things easier before there were so many scans?

Sorry for only mentioning a few... I am just so swamped with work that needs to be done before the conference.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Quick update...

Believe it or not, I am going to BlogHer 2007 in Chicago next week. It has been over 13 years since I was last in the US!

I'll get back in time to spend a week at home and then I'm flying to Croatia for a week, on a mom & daughter trip with Judy (aka Lilach).

I'll write more when I come back from taking Nomi for her MMR at the hospital tomorrow (she's allergic to eggs, so she has to be supervised after the injection).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Help with a slogan?

I'm going to a conference soon (more on that later today) and I want to make up some sort of inexpensive giveaway. It has to be really inexpensive since, if I were counting on my website to cover any significant part of my expenses, then, well... pasta for dinner would be a rare luxury. So, I decided on a magnet with a slogan. I want it to be infertility-relevant, but not specifically related (since the conference doesn't focus on infertility). I was thinking along the lines of:

A good friend listens even when she doesn't understand.
Sometimes lending an ear is the best gift you can give.
A friendly smile is often more helpful than well-meaning advice.

Any ideas? Any of them sound half-decent? I have the added disadvantage that I only kind of speak English. I actually left the US 22 years ago and so my English is still like that of a 16-year-old, only without all the up-to-date phrases... and I'm really self-conscious about it.

Whoever recommends the slogan I end up using will be the lucky recipient of a package of 20 such magnets delivered to the snail-mail address of their choice. Hey, I'll even throw in an OPK or 10 pregnancy test strips.

Thanks!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I must love order and chaos about the same...

For someone who claims to love order (me) I certainly live with a lot of chaos. I doubt this could be by chance... I have a tendency to leave things until the last minute (e.g., leave my house exactly 5 minutes before the doctor's appointment which is 4 minutes away), to count on miracles (fortunately, so far these miracles have been pretty cooperative), and to differentiate between what's important and what isn't in a way most people wouldn't approve of (e.g., leave the dishes in the sink until tomorrow morning, but put away the food five seconds after we finish eating, lest it instantaneously spoil.)

Today is a new record, even for me, I think... I have an exam in the university course I took this semester (Organizational Behavior) in an hour and 10 minutes and I didn't study for 1 second. It's a correspondence course from the Open University (the worst of about 20 courses I have taken, in terms of the staff responsible for the course) and I did enough of the assignments during the semester to be eligible to take the exam (3 out of 6). For some odd reason, I have way-too-much self confidence and a part of me actually believes I could pass this exam (um, yeah, right...) but the other (sane) part of me knows that if I fail, I have a few months to actually study the material and take a re-test. Since I'm not taking any summer courses (thank G-d) that might actually be possible. (I only once took a re-test and improved my grade by 28 points, so it does happen.)

Wish me luck. I *really* need it :-)

Edit: ** Surprisingly, the test was exactly what I expected. I am glad I didn't waste time studying. I even think I passed :-) **

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Back on soy

Nomi can go back to eating soy products. This would theoretically be helpful... if 1) she didn't absolutely refuse to drink soy milk or eat any fake 'dairy' soy things, like pudding.... and 2) not all of the soy products contained egg (which is out).

In other, more exciting news, my sister named her baby yesterday. Her name is Kinneret Esther (they'll call her Kinneret). My sister & BIL had a tough job, because there are a lot of girls in the family and so far the cousins all have different names. I think even for someone who didn't have fertility issues, it must be hard to be having her first child when her siblings all have many...

OK. My house is officially too crazy for me to continue this post. Nomi must be traumatized by having been taken to the hospital again (just for an appointment, this time). She will not stop screaming.

Edit: A walk helped calm her down. Believe it or not, she's actually asleep now...

And a p.s. - this is what I actually do in true life... (or what I used to do, when I had a life ;-))

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Donor & biological children in the same family

I just posted Terri's story. Terri went through several miscarriages & was then told she was in premature menopause. They decided to go ahead with donor egg, conceived on the first cycle and had a baby. Shortly thereafter, she heard of a woman who'd gone for reflexology and acupuncture for high FSH and was able to conceive naturally. She tried it and it worked. She's now 18 weeks pregnant.

Jim also posted his story, in which they were told there was no chance for them to conceive using his sperm. They opted for a donor, gave birth to a child and then, miraculously, his wife found herself pregnant naturally.

I wonder what they tell the children in this situation. Will they say anything at all to the children or will it make the donor-conceived child feel 'different'? Maybe like being partly adopted? Will it make them feel like this was their parents' second choice? I know that there are many families in which the parents choose to have another child later on, when it's too late to have a biological child, and then opt for egg donation (usually, or sperm donation, after a vasectomy) - but in this case, it's different - it seems fairly obvious that the parents would not have chosen to use a donor had they known they could be successful without it. I'm too shy to ask, but I do wonder...

I welcome your thoughts.

Haiku Meme

Kirby tagged me - here's the deal. You write a haiku to describe your IF/latest cycle/you name it. It can be deep and emotional, or snarky and bitchy, or just downright funny.

A haiku is a 17 syllable poem in three lines: the first and third lines have five syllables each, the second line has seven.

I chose to do my history...

Getting pregnant should
be easy at just 20
unless you're married

A year and longer
Counting down, late periods
Still no positive

I hate IUI
Catheter shoved deep inside
All my cycles failed

Gave up IUI
IVF sounds promising
Let's give it a go!

Cycle one torture
idiots sent for beta
a false positive

Cycle two one of
four embryos stuck around
now cute teenager

Cycles three and four
No plus beta for either
But some frosties left

Cycle five with four
frozen embryo transfer
I'm a mom of twins

Cycle six beta
29 is not so good
Blame hematoma

Not chemical but
13 long weeks 'til the end
Blame hematoma

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Kirby's are (mostly) hilarious, check them out!

Please leave a comment and consider yourself tagged :-)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Freezing eggs for the future

My mom referred me to this article. The article discusses the successful removal of eggs from girls as young as 5 years old and their maturation in vitro, making it possible to freeze the eggs and use them in the future. This technique is currently being attempted for girls undergoing treatment for cancer, which is almost certain to leave them infertile. Dr. Ariel Revel, from Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem led the research. I have a special place in my heart for Hadassah, since my two successful IVF cycles (and subsequent births) were there (there are actually 2 branches of the hospital & I had one cycle & one birth at each).

The information sounds like science fiction... and I admit the idea mentioned toward the end, of taking eggs from aborted fetuses totally freaks me out...