Please let me know and I'll try to fix it
I'm having some problems with the big list of blogs.
Every time I update it, there's someone who needs to be moved. Sometimes the move is obviously a happy one someone moves from "Adopting" or "Pregnant" to "Parents." Sometimes the move is unequivocally sad, when someone takes what feels like a great leap forward into "Pregnant," but then gets thrown cruelly back into "Trying." But a lot of the time, the moves give me pause.
What do I do when I know someone is straddling the line between "Trying" and "Adopting," planning that last cycle while confronting an intimidating mountain of paperwork? What do I do when someone is five minutes pregnant, when I know I wouldn't move myself when a positive was new and I superstitiously felt it was all so fragile?
It's hard to know, so I'm sure I make errors. If your listing makes you unhappy for any reason, please let me know and I'll try to fix it.
There are also times when someone's blog drops off the list because she's packed up shop and closed her site. Those are technically easy to remove, though I get a little pang when I do it. But there are more times when a blog has become inactive, where the writer hasn't posted in weeks, occasionally months. I generally leave those on the list not least because the blogs do have archival value, but also because I assume the writer will be back one day. But if you run across a blog that you know for a fact is defunct, please let me know and I'll try to fix it.
Finally, I don't update it as frequently as I should or as frequently as I'd like to. I generally process updates every three weeks or so. It takes a long time to do this; on that day not only do I visit every new site for which I've received an add request, I visit every site already on the list to confirm that they're still active, still relevant, and still in the right category. As our president would say, several times over with increasing incoherence, "It's hard work." But that is no excuse. If I get it wrong if I leave you off when you've already asked nicely to be added please let me know and I'll try to fix it.
I am not, of course, infallible. For this I apologize. Occasionally I even forget Poland. If you are Poland or any of its sixteen provinces (wojewodztwa), please let me know and I'll try to fix it, with the exception of Zachodniopomorskie, which can kiss my Kerry-voting ass.
Rave on, John Donne
Yesterday one of my entries garnered this rare sparkling gem of a comment:
There are so many children, from babies to pre-teens, that desperately need homes. You spend so much time and energy having doctors inject things into, x-ray, poke, prod and generally just plain fuck with your reproductive organs. Simultaneously, you post an online diary with every gory detail of your treatments, putting just as much time and effort, it seems, into the site's layout, updates, links and internet correspondance.
Why don't you change your priorities? Squeezing a baby from your vaginal canal isn't really that big a deal. The effort and love you put forth in raising a child is.
J, 32, diagnosed as infertile in 2001, wife, proud mother of 2 beautiful adopted boys, 8 and 3
Much to my shock and wonder, upon reading this I suddenly found myself filled with the spirit of a long-dead Metaphysical poet. Here, then, is my answer:
As barren women mourn because
Their urine stick tests yielded naught,
Self-righteous drive-by posters pause
To kindly offer "just a thought."
Dull and brutish posters' tries
whose one-off sallies seem intrusive
To browbeat women under guise
of caring feel a touch abusive.
They pepper us with sage advice
No more procedures, no more shots.
In case we hadn't yet thought twice:
"It's meant to be! Now just adopt."
Thank you, thank you, nameless troll!
Thought we never once of that!
We're lucky that your flapping hole
Enlightened us, you smug asshat.
"Why push a child from your vagina?"
Reasonable question, yes,
When paperwork and trips to China
Bring forth children to caress.
We each have answers, different all,
For why our stubborn souls insist,
For why our hopes remain in thrall,
And why our efforts still persist.
So shall we melt, and make no noise,
No protest, no indignant foam?
Shall we swear off dreamed-for joys
And bring those "needy children" home?
In part, we may we may decide
To swear off needles, to pursue
Adoption, which we don't deride
But not because we're swayed by you.
Yes, foam we will, for foam we must
When a troll doth dare presume
To preach that our desires aren't just,
To "just accept" an empty womb.
No matter where our paths may wend
Adoption, cycling, moving on
Each choice will come from deep within,
Not from your clumsy rants, Anon.
It's not for you for anyone
To scold, to hector, or to scoff
At how we build our families, hon.
We decide that. You fuck off.
(Yes, I am sure noted cleric John Donne laced his every utterance with obscenities. Why do you ask?)
In case you got here via that childfree site...
There are some points I'd like to clarify:
- Charlie was born two days shy of 30 weeks, not 28. It may not seem to make a big difference, but it does. I promise it would if it were a kid you cared about in that isolette, if there are any kids you care about. (Note that I am carefully avoiding making that assumption, for fear of giving insult where none is intended.)
- I haven't said anything about his needing to be on "assisted ventilation for at least the next 30 days." I don't even know what that might be, or how long he'd be on it if I could figure out what the fucking fuck it is.
- Charlie is neither pear-sized nor pear-shaped. He is closer in weight to sixteen sticks of butter, minus a couple of tablespoons, and closer in mass to a supermarket rotisserie chicken. Somebody check me here — maybe a canned ham instead? Now I am imagining my baby studded attractively with cloves, festooned with a pineapple slice, in accordance with the garish but helpful SERVING SUGGESTION printed right on the can. I got your modest proposal right here.
- Hey, so, um, why exactly are you concerned with my reproductive efforts?
- No, really, I mean it: why? I haven't even had a chance to become a bad parent yet.
- If you're happy and secure in your own reproductive choices, why are you wasting your time, your energy, and your valuable AOL minutes eavesdropping on infertiles?
- Because we're not the problem. I swear it. The kid kicking the back of your first-class airline seat ain't mine, after all.
- Oh, and "hysterical breeder wanna be" lacks pizzazz. Next time please consider turkey-baster fucking, dumbfuck breeder cunt. (You gotta admit it sings.)
The list and a quiz
I've just spent two hours yes, two hours updating the big list of blogs. If you've requested a link or a change and it's not included, I apologize; there's a lot that gets lost in the shuffle of my inbox these days. To make sure I don't miss future requests, I'm asking that any notes about the list be sent to me with the word LIST yes, LIST in the subject line. Those notes will automatically be filtered to a separate folder so that I can easily find them when it's time to update again.
Although I don't find a lot of time to do it, I enjoy updating the list because it leads me to discover blogs I hadn't found before. Not only do I visit the blogs people ask me to list; I visit sites they've linked to themselves, and often add them to my own frequent reading. So thanks for building those blogrolls.
With tonight's update I've added some excellent adoption blogs; blogs by people who are just embarking on IVF; blogs by people I hope never get that far; blogs that hail the glorious high of retrieval drugs; blogs that engage in lie-back-and-think-of-England sex; and blogs that come loaded with their own ready-to-eat placenta yes, placenta.
It's also worth noting that plenty of you moved from "En route" to "Arrived." It gives me such pleasure to make those changes. I fervently hope we're all there soon.
What's wrong with this picture of Charlie? Bet you can't guess!
Hahahaha, y'all are such dumbasses. I can't believe you haven't spotted it! God, it's so obvious!
To read the answer, select the following text with your mouse.
It's 2 PM and the bed's not yet made.
(Oh, and it's "retarded," and that's a nasty thing to say no matter how much Jesus loves you.)
It's hard to know where to start with this comment on an old post of mine about abstinence pledges for teens. The fish-in-a-barrel approach I'll cop to being "rediculus," but "retarted"? The keep-your-laws-off-my-body-and-your-prayers-off-my-booty approach? The not so sporting but oh, so satisfying post-the-commenter's-damningly-specific-IP-address approach? The you're-not-gonna-believe-what-this-character-was-Googling approach?
You know, I think for once I'll play it straight.
I want to be perfectly clear: contrary to what our learned friend above asserts, I think abstinence is just dandy. I think it's a real and respectable stance for anyone of any age, but particularly the subset of teenagers who aren't prepared to deal with the consequences of sexual activity. It's the institutionalization of abstinence that concerns me.
It should surprise no one to learn that I have a tremendous problem with the notion of foisting abstinence pledges on teens. Aside from any philosophical qualms I might have about the religious underpinnings of any such programs deployed in the public schools, and any sputtering rage I might (okay, do) feel at the fact that my tax dollars are funding the fundies, there's the indisputable fact that public virginity pledges simply don't work.
It's been demonstrated that teenagers who take these virginity vows are almost exactly as likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases as teens who don't. Plus, while they may delay vaginal intercourse longer than other teens, they're more likely than the overall teen populace to engage in other risky sexual behavior. Pledges may work for kids who live up the them, but the vast majority a staggering 88% don't. And these teens who don't plan to have sex don't have condoms at the ready (PDF file) when they break their pledge.
Isn't an organized push to urge teens to take an abstinence pledge worth it, if even 12% will benefit? Well, no, not when the result ignorance and avoidance of contraception and STD prevention is so damaging to the rest. I'd suggest that those few teens who do stand firm are predisposed to self-knowledge and good judgment; they're likely also to have made a private commitment to themselves out of personal moral conviction. It seems obvious to me that because of their intrinsic values they'd make the same decision not to have sex if they were presented with facts instead of, um, lies so breathtaking I'm surprised I can't smell the pants burning from here.
If public virginity pledges worked, the groups that sponsor them might legitimately claim that their efforts are inspired by a concern for public health rather than a drive to save souls. But the pledges don't, and the sponsors can't, despite any frantic scramble to strip the religion out of their message in the face of public scrutiny. True public health advocates agree that promoting abstinence is an important facet of helping teens stay healthy, but insist that access to unbiased information about sexual health is every bit as critical, a stance that virginity pledge programs categorically oppose.
It's a fact: teens are having sex. It's not just the heathens, either. Teens who take public virginity pledges are having sex, too. And a lot of those would-be virgin teens are putting their health at risk. Why? Because they haven't been given solid information about how to protect themselves. Because they're discouraged from taking a pragmatic look at the best way to take care of themselves. Because their normal desires and behaviors have been driven underground in the face of faith-based pressure.
Their well-being is being compromised because some religious organizations find it more important to look after their souls than to educate them about their bodies.
Is it "rediculus" to be upset about this?
Fine. I guess I am "retarted."
From e-mail. Which of these things is not like the others?
"Spur-M really works. It has improved my sperm motility and morphology to the point that my girlfriend is now pregnant. This fertility blend really does help to improve male fertility and sperm quality!" Adam J., San Francisco, USA
"I tried Spur-M fertility blend for men for 3 months and noticed a lot of improvements in my sperm quality. I am surprised they don't make this product more widely available. It helped my tremendously, and I will be telling people about its effectiveness." Balvinder Shah, Glasgow, UK
"My girlfriend and me have been really enjoying making our own homemade erotic films. We get off on pretending to be like porn stars even though it will only ever be the two of us that see them. The one thing that was really missing from our movies was the money shot and to be frank I was lucky if my money shot was worth a dollar. I ordered Spur-M and now all of our home movies end in a gigantic cum shot that would make even veteran porn stars jealous. Thanks Spur-M for helping to spice up our sex life!" Anthony, KY
If you'd like to, ah, improve sperm motility and morphology and explore a real natural IVF alternative, perhaps you should visit
Report back. Hey, I'm not going to go. My money shot's just fine.
Onward and outward
I'm leaving early tomorrow morning for a couple of weeks out of town.
I'm turning off automatic approval of comments tonight, mostly because at the moment I can't bear to read another single word of advice, no matter how well meant, and the thought of returning to dozens of comments two weeks from now is enough to drive a girl to close the bedroom door, turn off the baby monitor, and send you all out into the yard where you will not hear me cry.
Ah, I joke, I joke. But the part about the comments is true.
When I come back I'm sure I'll have many a rollicking tale about a week in the woods with my nearest and dearest. With any luck, they will involve plenty of liquor, long uninterrupted afternoon naps, and the helpful occasional whisking away of Charlie by my more competent female relatives.
I hump the leg of the Internets™
It just keeps getting better.
At this point we've raised in excess of $1000 for Rebekah's sister, still on bed rest, currently holding her own. (I can casually drop the phrase, "in excess," because our total for the second campaign was $501.85.)
Not only have I received more e-mail from people wanting to know how they can send baby gear their way and you can ask Rebekah directly for information on doing so but I've gotten offers, beautiful, generous offers, to donate other prizes for our drawing.
I'll post the details when they're firmed up. I am so pleased. I know you will be, too.
The following is from Rebekah:
For the past 2-2.5 years I have followed most of the blogs on your website. Watching and reading their stories, laughing with them, crying over negative hpts, and cautiously watching rising beta numbers, daring to hope. I've cheered silently from the sidelines rooting all of y'all on, hoping that each one could achieve that elusive dream of building a family through whatever path they chose.
After reading these sites, I cognitively understand the pain associated with fertiles, especially young fertiles like my sister. I know some women out there going through IVF after IVF find it hard to even look at a woman that was able to become pregnant so easily, let alone through chance.
That is why it is so overpowering to witness the coming together of people from all backgrounds who are sending well wishes and donations to my sister. Labels no longer matter, it's not about TTC or Adopting, Fertile vs Infertile, Explained or Unexplained, women, mothers, daughters, people are uniting and looking past the boundaries that have divided them to support an innocent.
It gives me great hope to witness something like this. That there is a universality amoung women, an instinctual reaction to support each other, even strangers, when one is going through hardship. These are women that have been through more heartbreak than I can fathom, and yet they are offering prayers and support for my family.
It is awesome and overwhelming and beautiful all at once.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Now let us never speak of it again.
Some of you may have noticed over the last 24 hours that this site was first unreachable, and then ass-ugly and completely unnavigable, and then again unreachable. Unfortunately, my domain name registrar carelessly knocked my site from where I thought it was safely perched, on a wobbly shelf just above the bathtub, with its mouse-gnawed cord pushed loosely into an ungrounded outlet.
Oh, and my e-mail got carried away by a pack of rabid dogs, who briefly attempted to raise it as their own before turning on it in a foamy frenzy, mauling it nigh unto death.
I called my registrar on Wednesday to give them my new credit card information, as my old one had expired. The well-groomed young man on the line I could just hear his crew cut bristling looked at my account, clacked busily on his keyboard, and helpfully informed me that it seemed I was paying for a particular service I wasn't actually using. "I'm not using it?" I asked cautiously. "No!" he boomed. "Absolutely not!"
So he turned that service off, and thereby succeeded in wiping my very existence off the face of the very Web.
And, oh, how we all did laugh.
In the subsequent hours I talked to no fewer than five different support engineers, each of whom attempted to fix the problem, all of whose efforts confounded each other, until the whole Internet snarled itself into an impenetrable knot, swallowed its own ass, Oroboros-style, and vomited the bilious mess into my naked lap. This made me very unhappy, as I allow only my direct descendants to do that, and although I did, in fact, invent it, I am currently in such a snit that I am disowning the Internet entirely.
Everything should be back to normal around here shortly. My apologies for the inconvenience, and an impotent shake of the fist oh, hell, an unlubed ram of the fist, if you know what I mean and I think you do to the fine folks who made it all possible.
As anyone who's been kind enough ever to send me e-mail can attest, I am a lousy correspondent. My intentions are good, as a screenshot of my mail program proves; I mark messages I plan to answer as unread to remind me to go back to them. And 1531 messages later, here we are.
To all of you who've written without receiving the courtesy of a reply, I apologize. But five messages are in the works right now! Will you be among that lucky, lucky handful?
Um, anyway, some of you have recently brought certain items to my attention that I'd like to share. I'm leaving out names because I haven't asked for permission to use them. My thanks for sending them along.
- First, an article in the Australian press warns that over-the-counter pain medication may elevate the risk of miscarriage. The study in question links the use of aspirin and NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen around the time of conception with an 80% increased risk of miscarriage.
My infertile friends inside the computer have, I am sure, already been advised by their doctors not to take anything but Tylenol prior to and during a cycle, but just in case any of you are, you know, fecund and might conceive without sacrificing an ungulate or two, I thought I'd pass this on.
I must add that the doctor quoted in the article also says that there's been no conclusive evidence that NSAIDs alleviate the pain of endometriosis, but my anecdotal experience says otherwise. To show my displeasure, I will be murdering a small, defenseless hyrax and depositing it on his doorstep unless he retracts his statement immediately.
- Next comes a link to an article about a couple who had quintuplets after the woman was apparently put on Clomid to improve a skin condition. "I was told there was a chance I could get pregnant, but I became pregnant almost instantly, after less than a week of treatment, which is not common," the woman said.
The person who sent me the link to this article astutely wondered whether there were facts left out: "Clomid as acne treatment? Pregnant after one week of treatment?" What I want to know is this: Who the hell gets five follicles on Clomid? Jesus gay, I was lucky to get one.
But then maybe I'm just jealous of someone with five preemie newborns to care for on a single income in a two-bedroom house.
(Shout out to Cricket for her take on the article, too.)
- One reader asks, "How bad are Lunchables? I was just curious, as someone who has descended into the pit of lunchable-like freeze dried fake food meals for my child. How bad are they and why?"
A short story on CNN's site points to the sky-high sodium content of Lunchables as the main reason why they should not be consumed, ever, by anyone. (I admit I amplify that a bit, in accordance with my well-known bias.) Predictably, Oscar Mayer objects to this conclusion: "... Feed four rats all the Lunchables they can eat for three weeks and then use that to make a sweeping conclusion," the company statement said. "Nobody would eat a diet of all Lunchables, or any other single food."
Okay, can I just point out the infelicitous juxtaposition of "rats" and "Lunchables" in that sentence above and move on?
- Another kind reader wrote to pass on a programming note. A few weeks ago, CBS's CSI featured a murdered woman who'd had a child after receiving embryos from an outfit remarkably like Snowflakes.
Thanks to the wonder of TiVo — one of the few subjects on which I am downright evangelistic, the others being the Wacoal BodySuede 85185 and a separate freezer for stockpiling provisions against the coming apocalypse — last night I watched the episode in question.
What struck me most was the baby who played the child of the murder victim, a baby about Charlie's age. He stands in his playpen, crying, waiting to be rescued as his mother's corpse cools on the floor before him. We infer that he's witnessed the murder.
And I thought, how awful that that baby had to see that. For the rest of his life, that precious tiny being will be tormented by nightmare visions, unable to eradicate his memories of the gruesome spectacle that's been put before him. Could any college fund truly be worth such a devastating, soul-curdling sight?
What? Oh. No, I didn't mean the corpse. I meant the unbearable overacting of that bearded lump of suet, William Petersen.
Thanks for the mail, everyone. Now back to answering that kindly gentleman from Nigeria. I think it's just terrible what happened to his $76,000,000.00 (SEVENTY-SIX MILLION AMERICAN DOLLARS). Gee, I do hope I can help.