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Jennifer Aniston might do a donor IUI, Katherine Heigl (sp?) adopts and I am STUCK.

September 17, 2009 | By:

Okay, I have been thinking a lot about Kate’s post about overcoming fear. It is particularly relevant to my own life since my mother-in-law passed away and my life has turned topsy turvy, I don’t know which way is up and I am NOT enjoying the rollercoaster. I am riding it just like I recommended, and I am surrendering to it . . . but I have so much work to do (my eBook on egg donation is nearing completion and while it will be free in the beginning, I am probably going to self-publish it as part of a three book series on family building, and sell it for under ten dollars), the problem is that I do not feel inspired, I do not feel motivated . . . I just long to curl up in bed and knit and watch re-runs of the West Wing.

But then I get trapped because each episode reminds me of some event from my infertility as my BFF and I marked the weeks of each cycle by the episodes, and then my BFF and I would anxiously await the following week’s episode as that would mean we were one week closer to retrieval or whatever. So I watch an episode of the West Wing and it fails to satisfy and it fails to bring back any memories. WTF?

I then realize that I am seriously and unforgivingly stuck but I have no idea why and no idea where. What happened? I resort to coping mechanisms other than the west wing. I clean my desk, I file outdated receipts, I almost completely catch up on client work, I am even blessed enough to get a few new clients. Still Stuck. Maybe I need to focus on the future?

I have a great conference call with my cybermarketing guru and my egg donor recruiter to discuss my plans to open an egg donation division of my office . . . all but one legal document to finish and where I should be celebrating and rejoicing that for ONCE I am on top of the work flow, that we are so close to being ready to launch the agency, instead I feel even more STUCK STUCK STUCK. So.

I listen inward for inspiration.
I read a knitting catalog.
I surf the internet to find out what is new in the world of adoption and infertility treatment (which provides today’s title as it seems quite the opposite of how I feel).
I print out flight schedules for an upcoming ABA meeting on asssited reproductive technologies where I am moderating a panel of experts and for my trip to attend ASRM’s annual meeting.
Rollercoasters do not go flat. They have hairbending, hair raising, vomit inspiring turns.
I wonder if it is my medicine for my back making me feel depressed.
I get into bed to rest my back which is responding to my internal stress and the rainy weather. Maybe less medicine and more rest (so it hurts less?).
I make a to-do list.
I write some of my eBook.
I make plans to update the website for the law practice. I realize I now have to talk about two different websites. Two different aspects of my life where I help people have babies. That’s cool. I smile and say a prayer to than the All-That-Is.
I take a look at the web copy for the new website for the agency.
I print out all the webpages for the storklawyer website so I can update them.
I work more on the eBook.
I do some research on the various ways to publish the eBook.

So I ask myself, what am I stuck in?
This it turns out is a very good question. I list the ways I feel stuck. My body is physically stuck. I seem to be stuck hormonally. I need to go see Dr. Chung because something is just not right in my reproductive system. I have gained 8 lbs in the last month, and it’s all water, NOT oreos. My engagement ring wouldn’t go on today. That has never happened before. I seem to be stuck worrying about moving to another state or part of the country (part of the reinvention plan I mentioned before). Maybe I don’t want to move so much after all. I seem to be stuck wanting another baby (okay ain’t NOTHING new about that one).

It is not a comfortable place to be and I do not feel (even though I just read a fantastic article on dealing with fear) anywhere near competent enough to answer Kate’s questions about dealing with the fears surrounding infertility when I am so unbelievably stuck in whatever it is I am stuck in. The rollercoaster awaits, I am in the NOW, and I yet I feel as if my feet were stuck in cement.

I wish I had the excitement these ladies have in their life, a new baby from Korea, contemplating (perhaps that is overstating Jennifer’s comments to Ellen DeGeneres) doing an IUI with donor sperm.

I go back to my list. I think over the last six weeks of my life. Possibly the most bizarre and challenging and sad months since I was going through infertility treatment (but then I knew what was causing my problems). Is it possible that I am just in unknown territory? My world changed in so many ways this summer. My beloved MIL is gone, Danielle is working somewhere else, I have new staff starting in my office, the kids are back in school, we have a little tiny bit of money in the bank (normally we don’t have very much “extra” thanks to the economy) which will help us pay down some debt . . . life is actually very good in many ways. I miss my best BFF who I fear is no longer my best BFF but then I know relationships go in stages . . . maybe what I am feeling is just new and different and I am desperately trying to find something familiar? What is going on?
Is mercury retrograde or something?
Being Stuck stinks.
And I hate twitter.
sorry to be a downer.
if you have any suggestions or thoughts, I am open to hearing any idea that might move me in a more comfortable direction.


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Movie Review – A Smile Like Yours

March 3, 2009 | By:

Hi everyone! This is Danielle, Liz’s associate.  It’s been a while since I blogged! 

When Liz told me about her new idea for the blog – watching and reviewing movies about infertility and adoption – I thought it would be interesting to join in the project.  I, too, often get so irritated by the way Hollywood deals with these subjects.  Sometimes I even get angry – don’t get me started on the “shady adoption lawyer” cliché that spanned so many episodes of Desperate Housewives a few seasons ago (the entire way that show handled Gabriel’s infertility and subsequent “miraculous” conceptions really bothered me, but I will make that the subject of a different Hollywood post!).  So, Liz let me borrow her first movie – A Smile Like Yours, with Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly, and I thought I would post my reaction here.  

I watched this movie with some friends – none of whom have any experience with infertility (to my knowledge), so it was interesting to hear the reactions from people who were not familiar with the situations presented in this movie, as well. 

We all liked it.  Ok, it’s not Oscar-worthy or anything, but it was a cute, touching movie that, in my opinion, depicted the experiences of a couple experiencing infertility honestly and sensitively.  A brief synopsis – the movie is about a couple who, after unsuccessfully attempting conception the old fashion way, find themselves trying cycle after cycle to have a child through ART, until it puts a strain on their marriage and they need to reevaluate what they really want for their marriage and their family.  I thought they did a great job of showing just how taxing the endless doctors appointments and disappointments of numerous failed cycles can be on a relationship.  Without giving away too much of the plot (for those of you who want to see the movie), let’s just say that “another woman” threatens the marriage at one point.  When I asked the roomful of people that I was with what their opinions were after watching the movie, the first thing they said was that they couldn’t believe how much strain trying to have a child could put on a couple.  They commented on how, after all those months of trying, and all those doctors appointments and medical procedures, they can see how it would be easy to loose sight of why you are doing all this in the first place, and they understood why the couple in the movie decided to step back and take a break for a while – to rediscover themselves and their marriage, and regroup before trying again.

When Liz watched the movie, she mentioned to me that she thought the ending was misleading, and I agree.  SPOILER ALERT: Don’t continue reading if you have plans to watch this movie, because I am about to reveal the ending!!  Like I mentioned, before the end of the movie, the couple decides to take a break from trying to conceive and just enjoy being married for a while.  The next scene starts with “Two Years Later” written across the screen – and the couple is happily taking their triplets out for a joy ride (in a convertible, mind you!) and playing with them at the park. There is no mention about how they had those triplets, and anyone without knowledge of ART and infertility would likely assume that it was another one of those “Hollywood miracles” (like the formally infertile Gabriel from Desperate Housewives, or Charlotte from Sex and the City who just happened to get pregnant accidentally after years of trying and being told by doctors that they were infertile).  I, and Liz, of course, immediately assumed that they went back for at least one more IVF cycle, and this time they were successful with triplets.  So I asked the people in the room with me what they thought about this scene – how did they think the couple got pregnant?  And their initial responses were along the lines of “they just relaxed about it and it happened.” Hmm….they just relaxed and had triplets on their own?  Not likely.  I explained the more likely scenario to my friends, who then agreed that I was probably right.  It is unfortunate that this otherwise well-done movie helped perpetrate the “just relax and it will happen” stereotype that seems to permeate so much of Hollywood (on-screen and off).

So…with that said, overall I would recommend this movie.  With the exception of the last scene, I think they did a great job portraying the life of a couple dealing with infertility.   I just wish they would have made the correct ending a little clearer – maybe the screen should have read “Two Years – and 2 more IVF cycles – later.”  That probably would have been more accurate!

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Let me Introduce Myself

June 4, 2007 | By:

Hello everyone!  This is my first post on the blog, so let me start with a short introduction.  My name is Danielle, and I am an associate in Liz’s office.  I started working with Liz as an intern during my last year of law school at Pace University, and never left!  I really enjoy the work that we do; as an attorney, it gives me such joy that I can actually help my clients build their families.  What an amazing job!

Part of what I like so much about this job is the fact that I get to deal with clients on a daily basis.  This is such an exciting and emotional time in our clients’ lives, and I am privileged to be a small part of it.  While much of our client base is made up of intended parents, we do also represent our fair share of donors.  I really enjoy working with the donors.  I think on some level it may be because I can relate to them more – I am just out of law school, have a crushing student loan debt, and have not yet started to even think about building my own family.  I find that most of the donors we work with (of course there are exceptions), are in the same situation and same point in their life as I am.

Lately, there has been much discussion and controversy over whether donors should be compensated for their donation of eggs.  The New York Times wrote an article on it.  They talked about it on The View.  The general concern is that potential egg donors – girls in the same life and financial situation as me – can be blinded by the promise of some “fast cash” and agree to cycle after cycle of egg donation, without ever giving thought to the fact that they are helping to create human beings that are genetically related them, and without thinking about the possible consequences to their own fertility of multiple egg donation cycles.

I get a little defensive when these types of stories pop up.  Sure, there are donors who are purely doing this for the money.  And sure, if compensation for egg donors suddenly became illegal, there would probably be a much smaller pool of women willing to donate.  But, from my experiences, and from the experiences of those I’ve talked to, many of the women who have chosen to become egg donors have not taken this decision lightly.  They are intelligent, caring, thoughtful women, and they know that what they are doing is so much more than just making a quick buck.

I am always so (pleasantly) surprised after speaking with a donor.  Much of the conversations I have with them are, obviously, about their contract with the intended parents.  The donors I have been lucky enough to work with have all shown me that they are taking this process very seriously – they have well-thought-out comments and concerns about the process and the legalities.  They also genuinely care about the intended parents they are cycling with, and whether the intended parents will have a successful cycle or not.  On the whole, the donors I have worked with are wonderful people.

So…when talk on the View turns to rumors about donors demanding $60,000 for their eggs, I shake my head in disgust.  It is my hope that intended parents considering using donor eggs do not get discouraged by the “horror stories”, and realize that most donors are doing this for the right reasons – to help make their dreams of building their family a reality.


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