Bluebird Down

The pursuit of domestic bliss, one glorious debacle at a time.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Off to the Fertility Doctor We Go June 15, 2011

Filed under: Baby Making,Family,Marriage,Tradition — Teri @ 8:09 pm

Disclaimer: While all blog posts venture into too-much-information territory, this post may be playing chicken with the “too” in “too much.” I also recognize that my snarkiness translates much better in person than on paper — so if I refer to an embryo as “the little alien,” you’ll take it all in good fun, won’t you? I mean no harm.

Who you callin’ an alien?

Today was the big sit-down between Dr. M, the trusty fertility doc, and Z, the trusty husband. Despite having relayed all of Dr. M’s information to Z regarding our child bearing potential, Z wanted to hear it straight from the doc’s mouth. Fair enough. I got lunch at Cheesecake Factory out of the deal.

So a little background: Z and I have been working on this potential parenting deal for over a year, since April-ish 2010. Right on cue, possibly as some sort of cosmic intervention, my body went on the fritz. The fritz, I say! There were pieces-parts that went into hyper drive, parts that didn’t work any longer, and frankly, parts I’ve never even noticed before. It was quite unpleasant. After six, seven, eight visits to my regular doctor, I was referred to a specialist in Raleigh — Dr. M. Well that was an unfortunate turn of events, because he promptly slapped me on the operating table. He did some demolition, some renovation, spiffed things up. [Public Service Announcement: If a doctor or nurse ever tells you that puffing up your gut with carbon dioxide isn’t a big deal, slap them and run away. They are lying.] Dr. M was feeling proud of his work until the thing happened that no one wanted to happen — the dye didn’t move through my fallopian tubes. Completely blocked. The freeway was closed to all traffic. In my follow-up appointment, I learned that our only hope for biological parenthood is in vitro fertilization [IVF].

IVF is exactly as complicated as it sounds and a little bit more. Dr. M laid out my options:

Option #1: Using My Eggs – Obviously, the first choice, right? Well… maybe not. Turns out that my eggs are as old as I am. We’ve been together all along. Every woman is born with their lot of lifetime eggs. We never increase, only decrease. And just like our bodies [and, let’s face it, our minds] start getting a little slack around 40, so do our eggs. They just aren’t fresh anymore. The DNA is breaking down, which causes miscarriages, birth defects and special needs children. Now not every 40+ year old egg will suffer, but the percentages are much higher than their 20-something year old egg friends in the house next door.

Option #2: Using a Donor Egg – The kid will be half Z/half stranger baby. I would still carry the baby though. Fun. It would seem I drew the short stick somewhere along the way.

Option #3: The Little Alien – An embryo from another couple is given to Z and me and I carry it as if it is ours. The embryos are frozen and are up for adoption because 1) their biological mommy and daddy have hit their quota on kids 2) their biological mommy and daddy got a divorce and the frozen kids are the ones to suffer. I’m sure there are other reasons too. A good option for some, but it doesn’t sit easy with me.

I explained all of this to Z over Skype while he was away. [All really important decisions in life should be made over Skype.] It was all a bit mind boggling for us. I had been fighting this battle on my own while he was away and was tired. He was, well, away and it was a little hard to wrap his brain around. Hence today’s sit down with Dr. M.

I’m still a fan of adoption — especially since all viable options point toward me carrying another woman’s baby. I am not Mother Earth and I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no baby. Dr. M asked, “How invested are you in the birthing experience?” Uh, not very, Doc.

And, for the record, I believe in a very broad definition of family. The family is not just hetero dad procreating with hetero mom to make hetero babies. Yes, families are nice that way, but so are the families with mom, dad, adopted baby… families with mom, dad, alien baby… families with mom, dad, fur babies… families with two daddies… families with two mommies… families with white, black, brown and green (for the alien babies)… and families with whose-kid-is-that? i-don’t-know-but-we-took-him-in. Family is about love and devotion and sticking together, not necessarily biology. So there.

And, you know, there is the It Is What It Is option. Maybe Z and I are just destined to be the cool aunt and uncle handing out sugar and noisy games at all family gatherings.

Time will tell.

[In the time it took me to write this post, 450 babies were born to teenaged mothers.]


More of This, Less of That January 2, 2011

Filed under: Family,Tradition — Teri @ 6:49 pm

I told you it's a process.

I’m working on my new year’s resolutions. It’s a process. And I love the process. It’s safe to say that I keep a running resolutions chart in my head all year long. It’s a side effect of being a under achieving kid. All of those “not living up to her potential” notices on my report cards made me neurotic. (Take note, Teachers!)

I feel like this is a big year to smack down some serious resolutions. Point #1: I’ll be 40 this year. While I’m not panicked about my age, I do recognize that it’s time to put up or shut up. Point #2: In some way, shape or form, Z and I plan to start a family in the coming year. As a social worker, I’ve been tempted more than once to say to parents, “You know, when you had your kid, you gave up your right to be a self-centered jerk. How about you pull your head out of your nether regions and get on with the parenting. Thankssomuch.” I’m not (you did read the word “not,” right?) saying parents have to be perfect human beings, but it certainly would contribute to world peace if folks tried to get their heads straight before procreating.

A small sampling of what I’ll be working on (the true list really is embarrassingly long)…

* Read more consistently. Every book I own has a bookmark in it. Finish three books a month. [Which basically means finish the book I’m reading before starting another.]
* Read the Sunday paper. I get it every Sunday and rarely open it. That should probably go for the magazines I subscribe to as well.
* Actually listen to the 20 or so podcasts I download routinely.

* Cardio 6x/wk, Yoga 2x/wk, Weights 3x/wk
* Run a 5K [Just because I want the t-shirt.]
* Limit Coca Cola intake to 1x/day [Wait… I think I already broke that one.]

* Attend mass more consistently.
* Appreciate.

Kinda dull so far, I know.  (Maybe “Add excitement” should be a bullet point. But then the intermingling of consistency and spontaneity becomes tricky. ) I’m still working it. The concept of “more” seems to be a recurring theme, which makes me suspect that I’ll have to throw some “lesses” in there somewhere. I have notes about breaking my addiction to Hershey Kisses, finishing up my documentary classes, finishing up my licensure, running away to Ireland, etc. Since I am turning 40, I probably need to start knocking off some Bucket List items too.

Happy New Year! May the coming year bring us all much love and happiness.


Happiness is a Muffin Named Pumpkin October 24, 2010

Filed under: Cooking,Food,Tradition — Teri @ 7:32 pm

I’m waiting for my batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to come out of the oven. Actually, I’m waiting on my crock pot chicken noodle soup to be done too. I’m looking forward to the muffins a little bit more though. These muffins were invented to be eaten in October. Great Harvest Bread Company makes awesome pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, but the calorie and fat content could sink a battleship. [Or make your butt look like the stern of a battleship.] Here’s the recipe that I modified from online:

Teri’s Kinda Healthy Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup apple sauce (less fat than oil!)
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (vitamins A, C & E!)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (fiber!)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (less sodium!)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (which you don’t really need since it’s really just a mixture of the other spices, but I had it and it felt right to use it)
1 cup dark chocolate chips, toss in 1/2 tablespoon of flour to keep from sinking to bottom of the muffins – shake off excess flour before mixing in (60% cacao makes the heart happy!)

Preheat oven to 375 and put liners in muffin pan.

Mix sugar, apple sauce and eggs. Add pumpkin and water. Mix all dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add dry mixture to wet mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill each muffin liner 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes.

Yummy in the tummy, People.


730 Days Down, 14,600 Days to Go October 17, 2010

Filed under: Family,Marriage,Tradition — Teri @ 8:15 pm

Tomorrow is my anniversary. Zef and I have been married two years. I’ll give him another 40 years. [I’m not ashamed to admit that when I’m 79, I’m trading him in for a 30 year old.] Our marriage has been unique, to say the least. Out of 24 months, we’ve only lived together — strike that — been in the same country together for 10 weeks. Our marriage is conducted through email and Skype messages, and the occasional phone call with maddening static and sound delays. We’re still able to ask about each other’s days, go over plans for the house, talk about the news, laugh, get on each other’s nerves and say I love you.

Z sent roses to my office on Friday. He called shortly after they were delivered. After we hung up, I felt heartsick. I closed my office door and cried. Those are the moments when it feels like the loneliness permeates your entire being. Most days I just tuck it away and stay busy. Whether you like it or not, you have to dry your tears, open your office door and get on with your day.

For a while I wouldn’t do much socially because I felt guilty about having fun while Z was away. Yeah, I’m over that. And Z is OK with it. He already had a base of friends when we met. I had just moved here and didn’t know anyone. It’s taken a good while [I’m not the most outgoing girl] but now I have a base of friends that I love and rely on. They were with me this weekend and they were goofy and fun and lovable and I needed that.

In my ripe old age, and with two years of marriage to my credit, I hold this marriage truth to be self evident:

Love is nothing, nothing, nothing like they say. You gotta pick up the little pieces every day. ~ Liz Phair

As much as I love a good love story, I blame Hollywood for most girl’s unrealistic notion of how a relationship works. [Really, don’t get me started on the Twilight series.] The card attached to my roses read, “To my partner, my best friend.” He really couldn’t have written anything better. Marriage, I like to preach, is a partnership that has to be renewed every day — 50/50, my friend. And if it’s not 50/50, we’re renegotiating. Screw gender roles. Sure, this blog may be about my dalliances with domesticity, but don’t think Z doesn’t have his own monogrammed apron waiting for him when he gets home.

And, so far, I think we’re doing pretty good keeping up with our marriage vows:
I acknowledge my love for you
And invite you to share my life
As I hope to share yours.
I promise to walk by your side
To love, help and encourage you.
I vow to take time to share with you
To listen and care.
I will share your laughter and your tears
As your partner, lover and friend.

Happy anniversary, Z. I love you.


Einstein’s Suits August 29, 2010

Filed under: House Oddities,Tradition — Teri @ 8:26 pm

Told ya.

Judging by my obsessive need of lists, you would think I had been bumped on the head with a pineapple like Drew Barrymore’s character in 50 First Dates. My lists detail the most average daily activities — brush teeth, take out contacts, set alarm (all on my Bedtime To Do List).

One of my favorite rumors about Albert Einstein is that he wore the same suit everyday so he wouldn’t have to think about mundane details like what to wear in the morning. I doubt that it’s true, but I certainly like the theory behind it.

My lists are like Einstein’s suits.

A friend who saw my Morning To Do list said, “You have to remind yourself to leave the house?” Yes. “And since when do you wear makeup?” Well, it’s on the list, so it can happen any day now.

There is a Weekend To Do List (laundry, grocery shop), a Monthly To Do List (clip Mike the Cat’s claws, Petsmart run), a Weekly List reminding me to… wait for it… take out the trash. There are lists within lists. I mean, really, what good does it do to go to the grocery store (from the Weekend To Do List) without a list of things to get? The results can be tragic. I forgot to put carrots on this week’s grocery list and now I am facing a week of carrotless lunches.

There are colored index cards tacked to my bulletin board with lists of places to go, things to do, things to see. There is a theory that you are more likely to do something if you write it down first. One can hope.

Guess what’s new on the Daily To Do List? That’s right. Post to blog. Check.


I think it’s time… July 13, 2010

Filed under: Destruction of Property,Tradition — Teri @ 4:48 pm

St Francis, post-George

We had a St. Francis statue that watched over our petite front yard. He hung out with his bird and rabbit between the rosemary and lavender. It was last Halloween — our first Halloween in the house — that I returned from the grocery store in the morning to find St. Francis holding his head in his water basin. Truly baffled by this sight, I ran over to, well, help him. [What? It seemed like the right thing to do.] When I lifted his head from its resting place, the rest of his body collapsed into pieces. My brain raced through a few Halloween conspiracy theories, but it occurred to me that St. Francis was not in his normal spot. He was to the left of the rosemary instead of the right. Ah-ha! George! George the Flippin’ Handyman. George the Flippin’ Handyman who had done more harm than good the day before. After a surprisingly brief interrogation, George confessed. He had knocked Francis over while he power-washed the sidewalk. [George had a new power washer and was determined, despite my protests, to power wash everything I owned. As a result, my water bill tripled for the month of October.] George must have been hoping for divine intervention when he precariously placed St. Francis back together.

So now I was left with a St. Francis in pieces. My husband had bought the statue for me as a gift. When we put it out amongst the rosemary, it had been the first thing that designated the house was now ours. St. Francis had helped me fight the Alien Potato Weed [oh, that’s another story], fire ants and the weird prickly bush that seemed to poke me even when I was across the yard from it. We had been in the garden foxhole together and one of us didn’t make it out. I felt an obligation to him.

Repairing St. Francis was futile. He had too many cracks and  he was made from a form of plastic that apparently repelled glue. But I couldn’t throw him in the trash — that just seemed wrong. So he has sat on the porch in pieces since October. But, let’s face it, there’s no dignity in being in pieces on the porch.

Today I decided it was time to let St. Francis go. I sat on the porch swing and stared at him for a while, hoping an idea would come to mind. It didn’t. I researched the proper disposal of religious items. I only received a partial answer. The Catholic Church has no opinion on the matter since the statue was not blessed by a priest. I could toss him or bury him. So I did both. I had a gift box I was going to recycle so I wrapped him up and put him inside. Then I placed the box in the bin. St. Francis, a saint who exemplified simplicity and humility, wouldn’t mind. In fact, he probably thought even that was too elaborate.