Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Double Standard

You know those guys who stand on the flightline and direct planes as they land with those fancy flashlights? I think that I need one of those guys whenever I have a visit from my Mom. She throws me a lot of mixed signals. She came bearing gifts for us from their trip to Mexico and things that they had found at the flea market.

The first night that they were here I made pork chops that needed to be cut up for dinner. Well, I don't have steak knives so we were passing around one of the 2 sharp knives that I have. I made a joke that I'm going to have the lamest birthday and Christmas because I'm going to get steak knives and silverware for gifts. But they are things that I need and E and I are capable of getting them.

The next day I took them to the mall after we had lunch with Dani and while we were browsing in a store, they bought something for me. When we got home (after a side trip the strip club)they gave me a box and my mom said, "This is for your birthday, even though I don't celebrate birthdays." Remember, she is a practicing Jehovah's Witness. It was a knife block which happened to have 6 steak knives in it. Nice gesture but it was coupled with a double standard.

Then the morning that they left, she referred to all the little knick knacks that they had brought and said that they were covered for Christmas too but, "I don't really do Christmas."

I can admire someone for sticking with their convictions and faith. It's something that I wish that I could do. But I find it really hard to maintain respect for my mother when she gives that double standard. And not only the double standard but the dismay in her voice that makes it sound like she is losing a bit of her soul by giving us gifts that correspond with milestones like birthdays and Christmas. I would almost rather her not give us anything than to see her in a moral conflict. Besides, E and I are NOT my sisters. We can buy things for ourselves.

Did I catch you all with the strip club comment. Haha!!! We were driving home from the mall in the 1989 Merecedes (that they bought from a friend for $4k and have put almost that much into it for repairs) when the radiator started smoking. We were on our way to the house to get Dani off the bus. My stepdad said that he needed to pull over. So I said, "Well, pull over!" So he did, into the parking lot of the only strip club in a 10 miles radius of our house. He didn't have to go in. He was able to fix the radiator hose and get us home, but could you imagine if I had to call a neighbor and say, "Um... we are stuck at the strip club, and I need you to get Dani off the bus."


Sunday, November 26, 2006


We had a great Thanksgiving. My Neighbor with 4 Boys (NW4B) came along with her husband. He made the turkey, and OMG, it was soooo good. I was responsible for all the other food except for a few pudding pies that he made as well. For the first time, I delegated projects to people (my mom, stepsister, and E) instead of doing it all by myself. It was so much more relaxing. Usually I am freaking out because I am trying to get everything done on time, but this year, I asked for help. It must be the winds of change.

NW4B cried during dinner. We were talking about our past Thanksgivings and where we were and who we were with. She said that her family hasn't done the whole dinner thing in a long time. She was talking about how Thanksgiving used to be a reunion in her family and the food was so good. Then she got quiet as she counted back the years. The last time she had gone was when she was 12. She is currently 37. She couldn't believe how much time had gone by and she just lost it. I think what really got her was that everything that we had was from scratch right down to the cranberry sauce. I felt good that she was having a good time, but I felt sad that it had been so long. There were some family issues that I'm not aware of that I think had a hand in her family not spending those holidays together.

A couple of weeks ago E and I built a fire pit in our backyard so we had our first fire that night. It was so beautiful. Even after all of that food, and dessert, we all had a couple of roasted marshmallows. It was just a great day. One of the best Thanksgivings that I can remember.

The turkey was so good that yesterday when I got out of bed, Dani (who had been up for awhile already) was sneaking something back into the refrigerator. I asked to see what she had and it was a sandwich bag that had been FULL of turkey. It had about 1/4 of cup left. I said, "Did you eat turkey for breakfast? Did you eat all of that by yourself?" She said, "Yeah, I love turkey and I was sooo hungry." So she got plenty of dead turkey.

I turned 30 and survived. It was a rough day for me emotionally, but I did it. I think what I'm feeling is similar to what people feel during a mid life crisis. There were things that I wanted to be and do and I haven't done them to the fullest extent. So, I'm feeling a little unfufilled. But it's getting better.

Monday, November 20, 2006


My mother, stepdad, and stepsister are supposed to make an appearance this week for Thanksgiving. They should be on the road now and make it here shortly after Dani gets off the bus. She is so excited. Tomorrow the school is having a TD lunch and I am taking them all to the school to have lunch with her. Oh, and I did call my mom yesterday to MAKE SURE that they were coming because I would have HATED to tell Dani otherwise. She is so looking forward to their visit.

So, I am having family for Thanksgiving. I am also losing my 20's this week. I am so emotional over this. It's only a birthday right? Just another year? I've been telling everyone that I will be celebrating the first anniversary of my 29th birthday. Last week at the RE's office he went over my 'treatment plan' with me and he said, "You're only 29, in good health, the labs are great. There is really no reason to think that with a little bit of help you can't conceive." So that was good news but all I could reply was, "But I'll only be 29 for one more week!!" and my eyes started to tear up. Geez I'm pathetic.

I thought that I would get Dani's input on what to have for Thanksgiving dinner. She said, "I want a turkey, and white potatoes, and macaroni and cheese.... a DEAD turkey."

Man I love her.

Friday, November 17, 2006


A few weeks ago, a note given in my Economics class was, “The value of the dollar is based on its purchasing power.”

It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I took this statement and applied to myself. Through the course of our adoption we spend $10,000. This is not including the foreign source fee that was refunded to us after we lost our referral. I don’t really know where that $10,000 came from. It seemed that whenever we needed the money, it was there. When we moved down here we had $15,000 saved. We had to spend a couple thousand when we closed on the house, when we checked out of our hotel on the day we closed, and we bought E a used pickup for about $7,000. I also bought E a kayak for Father’s Day, another $2k. I also got brand new front loading washer and dryer and a new lawnmower which came out to another $2.k. All of this spending has demolished our savings.

It got me thinking about the value of a dollar. In February, we were using that $15,000 to bring Lana home. That money was priceless to me. I worried that there wasn’t enough. I obsessed over our spending. In fact, I told my dentist that it was more important to me to bring my daughter home from Russia than to get a crown put on my tooth.

I look at the things that we have bought since we’ve moved down here. The kayak, that would have been our plane tickets for one trip. The truck; that would have been our foreign source fee and maybe hotel. Washer and dryer; more plane tickets. Closing costs on the house’ traveling cash and orphanage gifts.

I actually became a little disgusted. We think of a dollar as a dollar. It is a unit of exchange that has a set value. I was able to see that a dollar holds a different value to different people at different times. $150 to me is 2 weeks of groceries. $150 to an adopting family is fingerprints at their local Department of Homeland Security.

That $15k was so much more valuable to me as adoption costs. I look at the things that we have bought and I feel cheapened. I don’t feel like we honored the value of those dollars.

The value of the dollar indeed.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Here are a couple of things that I am pondering.

First, this film, Children of Men. It is set in the future and the plot depicts a world that has been infertile for 18 years. The fate of humanity relies on one woman who is currently pregnant.

Second, the film, Borat. How do those of you who have adopted, are adopting, and starting your Russian/East European adoption view this film. Is it offensive to your children's and ultimately your family's culture? Is it just funny?

I love a funny movie and the comedy lover in me wants to see Borat, but after being so involved with our adoption and learning the of the travesties that created the Russian nation as it is today, I have a hard time morally watching this film.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mapquest Error

I feel like I have been mislead by my RE's office. I thought that we had a plan that I would be on Clomid while the doc ran his tests to discover what was or wasn't happening with my cycles and try to simultaneously concieve. I was encouraged with my first visit because I left his office with a prescription. During the first cycle, his staff did their tests and I was checking for ovulation.

They said, "Call when you get a surge."

I said, OK, and I never surged. So I called them when my period started.

They said, "We didn't hear from you when you surged. We had another test to run".

I said, I didn't surge so I assumed that we would start again with another cycle."

They said, "Oh, that was a miscommunication. You should have come in anyway."

"Oh," was what I said.

Cycle 2. They ran their preliminary ultrasounds again. I tested for a surge. I got one on day 19. Yippee. They did their nucleal scan. Looked good. They did their biopsy. Waiting for results. I started my period. I call to tell them so. I leave a message Monday morning because I am anticipating needing another script for Clomid. They don't call me back. I call again this morning. They say, "Oh, you need to tak to Nurse A, she isn't here yet but she will be soon. Can I have her call you as soon as she gets here?"

"Sure." I wait. No call. I voluteer at Dani's school. No call. I come home. No message. So I call them back and ask what the plan is.

"Oh, we have you scheduled for a treatment plan on the 15th at 1pm. Didn't anyone call you?"

"Um.. No. Ok, what about another script for Clomid. Don't I need that?"

"Well, the purpose of the treatment plan is to disclose the results of the tests from your cycle and decide what plan of action the doc wants to go with next."

I said, "Well, I would still like to try to concieve this month. Isn't that possible?"

They transferred me. Another nurse came on the phone. "Hi Liv. We have you scheduled for a treatment plan on the 15th. You have 2 choices. You can come in tomorrow and start the pill because we manipulate everyone's cylce so that they are available during the week for any IUI's (intrauterine insemination, which I think falls under artificial insemination which is not covered by my insurance and after our adoption I have NO way to finance). Your second choice is to go ahead and finish this cycle, you can try to concieve if you want to and we will still hold your appointment for the 15th."

"Um...I can't go on the pill, they make me crazy and itchy."

"Well, eventually you will have to go on the pill because that is what we do with everyone."

"Ok... I guess I'll just finish this cycle and come in on the 15th."

"Great! See you then."

So, I feel like I have been a guinea pig for 2 months. I feel like they haven't even been trying to get me pregnant. I feel like, I am wasting another cycle and excuse me, 'you can try to concieve if you want to'? Um...I am coming here because I CAN'T concieve on my own!!

I just feel misled.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Post Halloween

Our first Halloween in our new neighborhood was fun. I took Dani this year. My neighbors kept telling me that our neighborhood gets hit up a lot during Halloween. It was one of the first subdivisions that was built here so for a lot of people it is a tradition. There were quite a lot of people but they all said that there wasn't nearly as many as there usually are. I'm OK with it being 'quiet'.

To carry on the tradition of me making Dani a costume every year, she went as Sleeping Beauty. Last year she was Belle and the pattern I had also had a Sleeping Beauty. So I didn't have to buy a new pattern. And I didn't have to make it big enough to fit over snowpants. In fact, I work a tank top and shorts, but I am also quite comfortable in Florida's cooler temps where the locals are freezing thier butts off.

I splurged on the whole experience and even did Dani's makeup. She has been so excited for the holidays to come.

Here is a picture taken after we came back. Dani wanted to help Daddy pass out candy.

Thanks for your support regarding my cycle. I look at this picture and I wonder, "How can I not be happy with this?" But I am happy. I just miss who's missing.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cycle #2

Well this cycle is over too. At least it will be when I start my period which should be this weekend if I continue with a 35 day cycle. Last week I had a nucleal ultrasound and the tech said that things looked good. I had blood flow around the ovary which suggested that I did in fact ovulate and that I was producing progesterone which is the hormone required to support a pregnancy.

Yesterday I went in for an endimetreal biopsy. They did a pregnancy test first which was negative. Then it was a go ahead for the biopsy. It hurt. The nurse said that most women don't really feel it, but I did. I think the numbing stuff they gave me didn't really work. They suctioned some of my endimetreal lining through a catheter to send to a lab to pinpoint exactly where I was in my cycle. I cramped all night long and this morning I'm cramping a little bit more, but the bleeding has stopped. I cried all the way home. I'm glad that E was with me and he could drive.

Pain is a funny thing for me. I'm always in pain. My lower back specifically. But yesterday, it kind of felt good to have a physical pain related to infertility. It was almost like I was finally justified for my sadness. For so long, my pain has been in my heart because of the failure of my body. Yesterday, I had a physical pain to associate with and it was, I guess, freeing.

I ran this morning. Ran through the pain, ran through the disappointment. I ran away from my fat. I just ran. For an hour. The calorie counter said I burned 900 calories. I told E that if I wasn't pregnant I wasn't going to eat for 3 weeks.

I'm very discouraged about my cycles with this RE. I've had two now. I got pregnant the first 2 times that I used Clomid with my previous doctors. So, now my success rate is 50%. Next month it will by 30%, and the next month, less. I do feel hopeless right now, and I wonder, "When will enough be enough?" I also wonder if I am as good of a mother as I think I am.

Being a mother is the most rewarding thing that I have ever done. It's been something that I wanted to excel at and I invest a lot of my thinking into choosing and devising techniques that will help Dani become a responsible, loving, and compassionate person. So far she is. She is amazing and she surprises me everyday. I don't think that I am selfish in wanting to parent another child. It is something that gives a feeling of self worth. Dani is a living testament that I am capable of love and nuture. She is proof that I am a woman. As she is getting older, I forget all that I have invested in her. She has new role models in school that are influencing her and I feel like I am losing some of my influence on her. E and I have given her a super solid foundation and it tickles me so that she uses it. Not only does she use it, but she uses it to perfect the new skills that she is learning. It is so rewarding to be her mother. I just want the priviledge to do that again.

Mile count today: 5.46 in 71 minutes

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm a big kid now!!

You know you've grown up when your mom calls you for advice.

I'll give you the short story. 9 years ago, my youngest sister, L, hooked up with some guy, he stole a 4 wheeler from our neighbor, got caught, implicated L and my brother which gave them a juvenile record and The Guy got jail time for grand theft. He also served jail time for stealing guns from the place where he was employed and taking them over state lines and storing them in my mom's house. L was pregnant with his child. She was born and it wasn't until she was 2 that he served his jail time. While he was in jail, she hooked up with a 'nice' guy (according to my mom) and got pregnant again. When The Guy got out of jail, he 'made' her get an abortion. I was pregnant with Dani at this time. She was just a couple of weeks ahead of me. They ended up together again, living together, they got married (though I'm not sure when) and had another baby who is now 3.

This summer, when they decided to separate, my mom told L to moved downstate onto the property that my grandmother and uncle maintain (it's a trailer park) and my mom would employ her as a site manager and she could live there rent free. My mother has been trying to get some kind of hokey grant to buy the property from my grandmother and build storage units that can also be used for a weekend flea market. L is supposed to be the manager and make sure that tenants pay their rent on time. She has been working on this grant for a year now.

Now L and The Guy are getting divorced and today is their court date to set the child support rate for him to pay. My mom called me last night and asked whether she should call my niece's school (she is in counseling for anger management) and tell them what is going on in her life, why she is acting out and telling the school that she suspects that my niece has been sexually molested (my mom thinks that everyone has been sexually molested. That is why my brother is gay, don'tcha know). She also wanted to call L's case worker and say that she needs financial counseling, parenting classes, and abuse counseling. She also wanted to disclose all the details from The Guy's past including the thefts, jail time, his violent nature (according to my mom), and his crazy family.

I told my mom that I felt that for too long, she has been too involved and she needs to let things happen the way that they do. I said that things might get worse before they get better but L has to learn how to be independent and if my mom is always showing up to 'fix' things, she will never learn. Let alone that when my mom fixes 1 thing, she destroys 3 more. I told her that L needs unbiased support. Support her, don't help her.

I also told her that she can't make long term plans on some grant that she thinks she will have no trouble getting when in fact, she has yet to fill out paperwork to apply for said grant. I said you also can't expect L to make future plans based on your plan.

It was liberating for me. These are things that I have wanted to tell my mom for years and when she asked me for advice, I had the right to. Phew.