Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

1.We promise to never use the words “path”, “journey”, “for the best”, “it’s God’s plan” or “meant to be”.

2. We promise to approach difficult moments with curiosity and compassion. When not so pretty thoughts or feelings come up, rather than beating ourselves up we’ll think, ‘I’m feeling this, what is that about?’ and whatever the answer know that we’re doing the best we can.

3. We promise to view life as an evolving adventure, whether we become mothers or not, we’ll always make time to explore the giant playground that we live in.

4. We promise not to roll our eyes when friends tell us they are pregnant on the first try. As easy as it seems, we wouldn’t trade the perspectives we now have for anything. Even an easy pregnancy.

5. We promise to go ziplining – literally and metaphorically – to look at the world around us with awe and wonder.

6. We promise to trust that our decisions are the best decisions for us and our families. Though other people may not understand, or approve, we promise to remember this is our life, not theirs.

7. We promise, even in the face of waiting and waiting, or changing diapers at 3am and cleaning grape jelly off the couch, to never forget the lessons infertility taught us – to roll with the punches and take life as it comes.

8. We promise to connect more with other women who can’t have kids the easy way. There is no reason for any of us to feel alone in our struggles.

9. We promise to karaoke the blues away. There’s nothing like belting out Pat Benetar in front of a roomful of strangers to salve a failed cycle or adoption that fell through.

10. We promise to celebrate every little victory – good test results or completing a step in the adoption process – to take a pit stop once and a while and treat ourselves to fun day trips or Reeses Peanut Butter Cup sundaes for no reason.

Happy Holidays from the V List!

We carefully sit on Santa’s lap, trying not to put too much weight on his legs. The bell on Stephanie’s embroidered “Jingle” shirt rings. The rhinestones on my snowwoman shirt glisten underneath the mall’s florescent lights. We giggle but Santa thinks nothing of our tacky shirts and 30-something selves sitting on his lap. What do you want for Christmas?” he asks.

“A healthy baby.” I tell him.

“Sounds like a nice present. And what about you?” he looks at Stephanie.

“A healthy baby.”

“Are you also expecting?” He asks.

“No, we’re adopting.”

“That is wonderful, it is something… I hold… very, very close to my heart.”

Santa gets it. His beard is real, his eyes are sparkly blue, and his breath smells like snow so I feel pretty confident that our wishes may actually make it to the person in charge.

We believe that the best gifts don’t come under the Christmas tree so, in that spirit, please enjoy this playlist we made featuring little ditties that we feel represent infertility and the V List in one way or another. Pull up your hookah, tissue box, 80s leg warmers, skydiving parachute and karaoke machine. Click on the “Pop-Out Player” button below… enjoy… and may all your wishes come true.

Standalone player

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We decide to go to the new IKEA in Tampa. In a big yellow Penske truck. While Stephanie practices her sense of entitlement driving this monstrocity in traffic, I enjoy the scenery of anti-choice, mature manure, and gun billboards.

Clearly we are serious shoppers. So, naturally, the first thing we do when we arrive is eat. “Where is the cafeteria?” Steph asks the greeter. “Um, right behind you.”

After we purchase a few chairs, a sofa, and closet system, we arrive at the baby section. Neither of us has ever been there. We usually skip over it with a sneer and a tear but today we take a deep breath and cross under the vibrant arch. You would think that we would be like two kids in a candy store, given how deeply we both want children, but we are more like two city girls on a trip to the country milking their first cow. Between our “what does this do?” and “what do you think this is?” we attempt to figure things out. After she practices lovingly placing her child (purse) in and out of each crib, Steph decides on an adorable little number. A few months ago we were sucking on Bud Lights and falling off mechanical bulls and now look at us – a couple of infertiles shopping in the IKEA baby section. Life is grand.

I wish entitlement while driving a big yellow truck translated into entitlement in the nursery. With all we have been through, we continue to coach each other on building confidence and trust that our bundle of joy will come. When the worst has happened to you it is no longer something that happens to other people. We don’t have the luxury of living with our heads in the clouds. We’ve experienced too much for that to even be an option. Even though the kid thing has been working out for both of us so far, there is a quiet fear that it will all go away. But we work on it one tire tread at a time, we deal with the bumps on the road, we merge with limited vision, hoping that everyone else will just clear the way.

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Steph and V-dude Danny ride the Top Thrill Dragster while on official adoption business trip.

Steph and V-dude Danny ride the Top Thrill Dragster while on official adoption business trip.

garage-sale-signsEverything these days turns into a metaphor for infertility or adoption. Nothing is exempt, even our early morning garage sale-ing adventure (followed by bacon, and eggs of course). The thing about garage sales is you have no idea what’s going to be out there, what you’ll find or even what you’ll want.

V-dude Danny accompanied us on the adventure, after making sure he wouldn’t be interrupting girl time. Alisa valiantly drove and put up with Danny and I shouting and pointing every time we saw one of the coveted posterboard signs. She turned on a pin like a pro.

But then, aren’t we training ourselves to do just that every day we take on infertility and adoption? With my adoption process I feel like there’s always something coming around the corner. I’m learning new things all the time. It’s quite exciting actually. It’s fun to imagine the bedtime story I’ll tell my child about how they came to be with us. How we flew across the world to come and get them. There are so many factors I can’t possibly predict, so I kind of just have to keep following the signs and trust that I’ll know what to do when I get there.

Which brings me back to garage sales, really there’s a point hidden in here somewhere. There’s just no way to know when you follow a garage sale sign, if what lies ahead will be disaapointing, hold a hidden treasure or whether you’ll spend ten minutes trying to figure out if someone’s old duct taped mirror would look good in your bathroom. You can’t set off to garage sales looking for a specific outcome or item because you will only be disapointed. You just have to trust that you’ll know what you want when you see it, like the krimping iron set we found. Or conversely that you’ll know what to pass up, such as a set of Girls Gone Wild videos and Penthouse lighter/knife combo.

And even, if after all that time, and all those u-turns and confusing neighborhoods all I come away with is two rolls of wrapping paper, well that’s okay too, because I got to spend a few hours giggling with a couple of my favorite people.

shellfish

Shellfish & a nice Chianti… need I say more?

Here is the recipe. I used turkey sausage instead of pork and clams instead of mussels.

Happy eating!

Yeehaw! Last night we won the local trivia night! With a little help from our friends and a lot of help from Alisa’s dad who knew things like who wrote the Pink Panther theme song. We beat the other teams by ten points, so as Ed aptly put it, if we’d been missing just one member of our seven person team, we wouldn’t have won.

Slim margins aside, I have to say it felt good to win at something. I often felt like a huge loser at the game of fertility. I still do sometimes feel like a big fat evolutionary failure whose body can’t do the one thing it was biologically put on this earth to do (ie. be fruitful and multiply). Something I thought would be as easy as rolling over in bed.

Trivia night at times felt like a mini version of the struggle. Many of the questions are the sort that are right on the tip of your tongue. They seem so easy. I know this! I should know this! Urgh, why can’t I think of it?

It’s incredibly frustrating when you can’t get it but the answer fills in your brain as soon as you hear it (Damn, I knew that one!) But the release and joy when you find out your answer was right is complete. And the thrill of victory that swept through me as we received our $30 Kazbor’s Bar and Grill gift certificate made me wonder what it will feel like when we finally “win” a bigger prize.

Cowgirl downI am sore. My neck, thighs and back are rigidly trying to pretend I have full range of motion. I have always been wildly attracted to scars and battle wounds. I think they add character, layers to a person. This stiff neck is my souvenir. I didn’t get it from sleeping wrong, no siree. I got it from riding a mechanical bull in the middle of Nowhere, Florida. 

The night was adventure after adventure… We line danced, serenaded the cowfolk with some classic Love is Battlefield in the karaoke room, and were told we had the pimpinest hats in the joint by a seven foot tall cowboy who had a voice that could sing Ol’ Man River in a heartbeat. When we arrived at the bullpen, riders were effortlessly doing their thing. I wanted to go fast, to surpass the 8 seconds, to fly off the bull with such force that my hat would follow my body. Instead, the operator had me bucking at the slowest possible speed. It felt like slow motion. I gripped onto the bull with all the might my hands and thighs could muster and, within five seconds, slid off the side. There was no dramatic dismount. I gave it my all but my body was not in sync with gravity. But back in the saddle I went. Each V-List adventure can’t help but become a metaphor for life, for the journey of nontraditional paths to parenthood. Face down in uncertainty, or the dirty floor of the bullpen, we get up. We get back on. We move in slow motion even though we want to go much faster. But just as I can appreciate scars and stiff muscles, I have grown to value taking it slow. There is freedom in letting go of what I feel should happen and allowing all expectations slide off the side of a bull.