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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: April 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Do I Have The Right To Complain?

I met with an expectant mom last week for lunch.  She was late, harried, and honestly she looked like hell.  I didn't have to ask her how she was feeling, twice during lunch I thought she was going to pass out.  Once she actually excused herself and came back and said she'd thrown up "yet again".

She kept apologizing.

Finally I said, "Please stop apologizing, you are pregnant forcryingoutloud!" That's when the water works began, I offered her my napkin, and a piece of ginger candy I had in my purse, ordered her some chamomile tea, and asked the server to take away the offending food and it's aroma that was making this poor lady ill.

"I am sick every single damn day" she proclaimed in-between micro sips of tea.  I nodded and empathized and shared with her that I didn't stop throwing up until my son was born.  The power of the placenta and all that rot.

Her eyes were as big as saucers as she listened to my own memories of pregnancy, and she again began to cry.  "The nurse at my OB's office told me I should be grateful and shouldn't complain."  "She what?"  I asked, sitting up straighter in my chair while instantly feeling overly protective of this new mom to be. The woman nodded and said "Yes, I went in for a check, I was just 12 weeks, I thought the sickness should have stopped by now.  I didn't gain weight my first trimester at all, and continued to throw up daily.  I asked her about some help with feeling so sick and she told me that being sick comes with the territory and I should be grateful and shouldn't complain it would pass."

I gave her the "Oh no she didn't" look and went on to educate this first time pregnant lady about morning sickness, hormones, and what she could and couldn't take to help with that.  I also advised her that her first order of business would be to call her physician after lunch and tell him flat out that she's 23 weeks pregnant, still sick as a dog and really not wanting to be this ill throughout the rest of her pregnancy.

"Can I do that?"  she asked.  "Of course you can."  I replied.  "I didn't think I had the right to complain" she said, "Blowing her nose rather loudly into her napkin.

I found myself winding up for the mother of all rants  -- "First of all".... I began and that prompted the first chuckle out of the woman across the table from me.  She knew what was coming and was truly all ears.

Being pregnant is not always easy.  Not every woman loves being pregnant.  There's no shame in that.  It is what it is.  No one could have warned me about how sick I was going to fill.  I think that's one of those things you have to experience for yourself.  The exhaustion was almost overwhelming.  I had no clue that hormones could cause me to be so bone tired and weary that I could have easily slept my first trimester away. 

I thought  I had a handle on the emotional part of this.  Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! I either wanted to jump my husband's bones and gush about how wonderfully amazing he was while I hummed "You're Havin My Baby" by Paul Anka or I wanted to cut his equipment off and box him up and send him to outer Siberia.  Commericals made me cry.  Puppies and Pampers made me cry.  My doctor made me cry.  My mother made me cry.  My ever expanding waistline made me cry.  I was a puddle of tears and should have strapped on a pair of hip waders.

I can remember after a horrible bout of nausea that was accompanied by a rather awful bout of constipation it became crystal clear to me that my body wasn't going to be my own until this child that I had worked so terribly hard for was born.  And that was not going to happen for another six months or so.  It was early in the game and I truly wasn't sure if I could do this.  As I stood in my own Perinatologists office my nurse actually said "Oh it's really not that bad is it? Your color is great and so is your blood pressure".  I then promptly without warning puked all over her nice clogs, and the proceeded to throw up as my Perinaologist examined me, and once again as I was leaving. 

Needless to say, I had a prescription for medication as I left the office.

However, I like my pregnant friend still felt horribly guilty about complaining one iota.  There were infertile women all over the world who would never get to experience morning sickness, constipation, exhaustion, or carry the miracle of life like I was doing.  So who was I to complain about temporary conditions?  After a couple weeks of feeling like death warmed over even after receiving  medication that to help with my nausea I got over feeling guilty.  By golly if I felt wretched and I needed to complain I was going to do it.

And I did.  A lot.

Needless to say, I wasn't a great pregnant woman.  I didn't sign up for this and I let everyone around me know.  (Eventually after my son was born I ended up apologizing however to everyone who has to listen to me whine - it's amazing how quickly we forget how badly we felt when we have a baby in our arms.) Don't get me wrong I had the glow, that sheen we get to our faces during pregnancy.  I think mine however was due to puking and my sheen was a layer of sweat.

Anyhow I digress, yes, you are allowed to complain.  The backaches, the constipation, the hemorrhoids, the lack of sex drive, the nausea, the exhaustion, the dull hair, the crappy skin, the leaky breasts come the third trimester, the all over the map emotions, -- and while you may experience some of that, none of that, or all of that, it's not fun.  And nobody should ever tell you that you don't have the right to complain.  Just because it took an act of congress to get you pregnant doesn't mean that you somehow lose the right to express yourself.

And there's a reason women carry babies not men.  No really!

At the end of my lunch with this delightful lady she was giggling, feeling better, had actually eaten a bowl of soup, some crackers, and a piece of cake -- I noticed she seemed to be a bit more empowered.  I even offered to be her hit lady and take out Nurse Ratchet at her OB's practice.  She laughed and said she'd keep my card:)

So if you feel bad it's okay.  It's okay not to love pregnancy.  It's okay to feel overwhelmed and out of control.  It's okay not to like the fact you give your body up for nine months. Above all, yes you do have the right to complain.  Being pregnant doesn't mysteriously take that right away.

So go on with your complaining self -- let's hear it from the roof tops!  Before long labor will be around the corner, and those sleepless night will have begun,  If you thought you were tired before your baby was born the exhaustion that occurs during the first year is almost unexplainable.  It's another one of those things you have to experience for yourself.

And if some silly nurse, or your sister, or your mother, or your husband (God help him) has the audacity to tell you that you should be grateful and not complain. I hope you promptly puke all over their shoes.

I really mean that.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do we really want Uncle Sam in our uterus?

I feel kind of like my last few blog entries have been rather angry sounding – I ranted about the fact that being a parent is NOT a luxury, and then I before that I told Arizona where to stick it, and of course, lest we forget, I was pretty steamed when I wrote about the post about my egg donor really not being a hooker. And here I am once again writing about the government and really wanting them to stay out of my uterus.

It's really kind of a scary thought isn't it? To be told by the US Government what you can and cannot do with your own body. We went through this in 1973 during Roe vs Wade, and if I predict in the next ten years our reproductive rights will be controlled once again and we will be limited in what we can and can't do to create or grow our families severely limiting our choices.

I'm asked a lot of I am pro choice or pro life. It's not that simple of a question for me – I won't say I am PRO abortion. Who really is pro abortion? I mean come on really -- If you ask any woman who has gone through that experience they certainly aren't going to tell you "Wow, I loved it! Best experience ever! It was so fun, I went and had a massage, pedicure, and facial afterwards with my girlfriends!"

My response to that question is always the same – My hope would be that a baby would be born from an unplanned pregnancy and that baby would be placed with someone who can love that baby and give that baby the wonderful life he or she so richly deserves. Am I going to judge someone who has had an abortion? Not on your life. I am all about choices. And those choices start with our bodies.

The journey through infertility is hard. It's made harder by those who think that bringing high multiples into the world is a good thing. My opinion is that babies really should be born one at a time. Not in litters. I can't even say I am a huge fan of twin births, but I understand why those occur. And really anyone who has more than triplets, I wonder about their sanity.

But again that's just me.

My point to this (and really it's not a rant, it's a huge concern), is that if the government begins to once again stick its nose where it doesn't belong (in my uterus), once again limiting my family building options it's going to be bad for me, you, and anyone else who is using TPR (Third Party Reproduction) to create their family.

What's the remedy?

Well, we are supposed to be a self regulating industry. And I don't see a whole lotta self regulation going on. That was pretty evident with the Octomom case. Now she's regretful, and feeling guilty. And you know who's going to end up supporting those kids don't you? Me and you and the rest of the USA who pays federal taxes.

I know there's a lot of eye rolling when we talk about ASRM and their guidelines regarding egg donation, egg donor compensation, and treatment. I hear all the time, "They are just guidelines not rules. When they make them laws and rules we will then abide." And frankly it's frustrating. I am asked over and over "Why can't they do something." And I truly don't have an answer. One of the issues is there is no governing body regarding egg donation agencies. Anyone can open an egg donation agency. You don't have to be licensed (except for a business license), you don't have to be certified. (Unless you are in New York).

So really, it's the wild wild west. And sometimes it can be scary if you don't know who you are dealing with. I have seen lots of money lost through bad agencies.

Then there is the whole compensation issue. Half the class says "It's a free market don't tell me what I can and can't spend." The other half of the class says "Anything over ten thousand dollars is exploitation and wrong." I am of the opinion that when lots of money changes hands the listening goes right out the window. And what I mean is that money becomes the focus not what's really going on. Donating eggs is a serious business. It's invasive, it's a surgical procedure, there's drugs involved, your life style for 10 weeks has to change drastically, it's a lot of responsibility. And sometimes when thousands of dollars is involved the focus of what's really going on changes to "I can endure anything for 60 days for 15k" and that clearly isn't the attitude to have.

As you can see we have a few problems that need to be addressed, thought through and ironed out. But I hope we as an industry can band together and do it ourselves without the US Government stepping in. If they step in and begin to regulate things like they do everything else the cost is going to go up, the donor population is going to dry up, and where will be then?