September 27, 2010

going through labor is no small peanuts (warning: graphic image)

Another benefit to having a hysterectomy this year: I don't have to go through nut-breaking labor!

Woo hoo!

Source: unknown

Pun intended...

September 26, 2010

how the surrogate implantation process works

We got a lot of questions answered when I met with the doctor at Local Research University - East a few weeks ago. She was really nice, and gave us a lot of good information about what to expect from a medical perspective.

Now that we've selected our fertility doctor, met the surrogate, and got the embryos packed up and ready to go, here are the next steps:
  1. Easy Bake Oven calls LRU-E to set up her medical and psychological evaluations.
  2. She passes, then IT Geek and I take our psych evals (I'll be sure to not refer to our surrogate as "Easy Bake Oven" in front of the psychologist).
  3. EBO begins taking the medication to get her body ready to accept our embryos.
  4. Yes, I said plural embryos - surprise! We're putting two potential babies in the oven. Well, the doctor will put them in there.
  5. We wait to see if it "takes."
  6. If Step 5 is positive: yay! Go to Step 6. If Step 5 is negative, return to Step 3.
  7. LRU-E monitors everything for 8-10 weeks.
  8. LRU-E releases EBO to her own doctor.
  9. Babies born. :)
Rather than update you on each step as it happens, please understand that I may wait awhile to post an update simply because a) this is a bit mentally, emotionally, and physically draining, and b) it may take awhile. But trust me, when it happens, I'll be shouting about it from the top of Cowles Mountain! (And Mt. Facebook, and Twitter Peak.)

September 17, 2010

100 item challenge and defraying surrogate costs

I read a TIME article about a guy named Dave Bruno who embarked on a year-long challenge to live with only 100 things. Not 101, not 99, but 100. The purpose, according to his site, is:

"The 100 Thing Challenge is a worldwide grass-roots movement in which people are limiting their material possessions in order to free up physical and mental and spiritual space. People who were once "stuck in stuff" are empowered to live joyful and thoughtful lives."

While I like the idea in theory, I'm not sure I can put it into practice. But the piece made me think about what I could do without around our house. Things like the lamps in our bedroom, which were perfect for our large house in Bucks County, Penn., but are too big for our little townhouse. So I put them on Craigslist, and they sold within 12 hours of putting them up.

Then I thought, wait a minute...we need money to pay for a lot of the costs from IVF and the surrogate process. We've already got a couple of links in the right rail of this site (to a great cookbook and to help defray costs. I began looking around our house, and soon there were 4 neat piles of stuff: trash, Craigslist, eBay, and donations. (John drew the line at me selling my wedding ring set.)

So if you want to take a look at some Classic Pooh (as in Winnie the Pooh) figurines and statues, as well as some other stuff. I'll soon be putting up stuff from ComicCon, but here's what's up there for now (my full listings are here):

I'm thinking of it as a virtual bake sale!

Oh, if you're interested in the 100 Thing Challenge, you can pre-order it at Amazon.

September 12, 2010

the granny panty coup d'├ętat (aka: elastic exasperation)

(I originally wrote this in July, but am just getting around to publishing it.)

Three months out from TLH/BSO (thanks, cancer!), and I finally feel comfortable trying to wear jeans for the first time. Since the surgery, it's been flowy dresses and loose capri cotton pants. This was mainly due to the fact that I didn't want to put pressure on my waist and abdomen area. (I have 2 little scars - one on each side of my belly button.)

You'd think breaking my Jeans Virginity would be an exciting day, a noble one, and a moment in time worth celebrating. You'd be wrong! Why?

The dreaded panty. That sassy little piece of loincloth that was invented to...what was it invented for? According to Wikipedia: "Panties (in the USA and Canada) or knickers (in the UK and Commonwealth) or undies (in Australia and New Zealand) are a form of underwear, usually light and snug-fitting, designed to be worn by women or girls in the area directly below the waist." Apparently, it started out as a hygiene issue.

But I digress...

Here I am on Jeans Day, and I'm in pain. Not from the surgery, but from the plastic that's rubbing against my skin right at my waist! You see, the underwear elastic falls at the same place where my scars are. And my jeans, in their kindness, sit right on top of that. I came home that day very red, and very uncomfortable. So much for the expected feeling of elation at wearing normal-folk clothing post-hysterectomy.

I looked through my drawer, and it turns out I have exactly 4 pair of underwear that have cotton covering up the elastic. Woot!

I look at the tag: Avenue. I jump in my car, run down to the store, and show them a pair. The girl says, "I've never seen those." I tell her I got them in the past year, and she says, "I've been working here a month, and I've never seen them."


I end up talking to the manager, who tells me they stopped making the type I have. How tragic! No more protected bellies! You have nothing separating your precious skin from the evils of elastic (trust me on this one...for those of you about to cry, "I have no such thing touching my skin!" -- reach down, I bet you do).

I've since been to Old Navy and Lane Bryant, and these mystical cotton-elastic-hiding panties are sadly, nowhere to be found.

Rise up! Surely there are many women out who want the soft feel of cotton against their battle scars, who yearn to wear jeans without fear of discomfort.

Who's with me?

September 7, 2010

our first meeting with our surrogate

Fitting that I met our surrogate for the first time in person so close to Labor Day weekend, since I've lovingly been spared the agony of having to go through labor. (Bonus!) IT Geek and I visited his parents in New Hampshah for 5 days, and I tacked on an extra two days to come down to New Jersey to meet our Easy Bake Oven.

She and I have talked a few times over the phone, and I really liked her, but my stomach was still full of butterflies at the thought of meeting her in person. Like she might be too good to be true, and she just might disintegrate into thin air if I tried to hug her. Yes, I was in a rational state of mind going into yesterday's lunch/meeting.

Imagine my surprise when she turned out to be real. And nice. And cool. And real. (Again, I wouldn't describe this surreal cancer-IVF-surrogate process as sane.) She didn't go *poof* and disappear, or grow wings and fly off like Tinkerbell. We had a great lunch. I met her son, who's cute as a button, and our mom nurses clucked away as well (Nurse Mom and Easy Bake's mom have been coworkers and friends for years; that's how we connected).

Tomorrow it's off to Local Research University - East to meet with those docs and discuss the second part of The Surrogate Game: getting our embryos into Easy Bake Oven.

September 6, 2010

recipe: low-carb almond crusted tilapia with garlicky spinach and rutabega fries

Back in February when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, I decided to start losing weight and eating healthier. Cancer once? It's okay to have fries and Chick-Fil-A. Cancer a second time? Eat healthier and lose weight, chickie.

We found this fantastic low carb cookbook, and since we began using it, I'm down 18 lb. and IT Geek's down 11 lb. I'll do a full review of the book in another post, but for now, here's our favorite recipe (link to book below...feel free to buy it through me and any meager amount of kick back we get goes toward the Baby DeFrias fund).

Low-Carb Almond Crusted Tilapia 
with Garlicky Spinach and Rutabega
Our rating: 5 stars out of 5
Makes 4 servings

2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup crushed almonds
1/2 or 1 cup buttermilk (we use low/fat free ranch dressing)
4 Tilapia Fillets
1 lemon cut into quarters
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In food processor, blend the bread crumbs and almonds.
  3. Pour the buttermilk (ranch dressing) into a bowl and dip the fish in it.
  4. Press the fish into the bread crumb/almond mixture.
  5. ProTip: Spray olive oil on the pan, place fish on it, and put in the oven.
  6. Cook for 20 minutes total, 10 minutes per side. After the flip put more olive oil on the pan if necessary
Dressing: Low-carb tartar sauce: mayo, capers, dill pickles, green onions

Garlicky spinach
1 bag/container spinach
3 garlic cloves
(1 tsbp garlic power if you don't have the real thing)
2 tbsp water
  1. Wash and clean the spinach.
  2. Add garlic and toss.
  3. Put in glass dish, add water, and cover with glass plate.
  4. Microwave for 2-3 minutes (depending on your microwave's power).
Rutabaga fries
4 rutabagas (sweeter than potatoes and much healthier/low carb for you)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or a gangload of real garlic 8D)
salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. In a bowl mix rutabagas, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt/pepper.
  3. Lay pieces on cookie sheet so they don't touch.
  4. Cook 40 minutes, 20 per side or more.