Friday, July 31, 2009


One of the lessons I learned from having breast cancer is that the first medical consultation you have is often not that useful—except as preparation for your second consultation—because you don't really have any idea what to expect from the initial consultation until you're right in the middle of it. And no matter how much you think through things in advance, you don't know some of the key questions to ask until you realize after the fact that you didn't ask them. Likewise, you can't process even half of what you hear the first time around because it's all a foreign language, and you don't yet know the vocabulary. In some ways, it's kind of like that first pancake on the griddle—a failure as a pancake but a prerequisite for all the successful pancakes to follow.

One of the lessons I learned from planning a wedding and buying a home is that it can be fun to scope out things you can't really afford—like a wedding cake made by a celebrity cake-baker or an apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. (Free tastings and open houses are wonderful things.)

Bearing those lessons in mind, Zach and I had our first consultation with a surrogacy agency yesterday.

We went in thinking that it would be a good "practice consultation" because this particular agency is costlier than many—maybe all—of the others we've looked at, and we assumed we'd end up going elsewhere in the end.

Still, we took it seriously. We read through the glossy packet of materials they'd sent, plus everything on their website, and we completed the detailed intake questionnaire a couple of days in advance.

The agency is very customer-service-oriented, so I had already had two conversations with a client-relations specialist who was warm, supportive, and informative. The same woman greeted us at the door when we arrived for our consultation.

The office was very professional-looking—a bit like an upscale therapist's office. There was no cheesy artwork, no inspirational posters, no pastel drawings of babies or storks. It was all very nice, and very normal.

Our greeter got us settled, offered us water and parking validation, and bid us farewell. A few minutes later, we met with one of the owners of the agency and proceeded to fall in love.

He was knowledgeable, reassuring, encouraging, and empathetic. He also seemed genuinely interested in us as people, not just as prospective clients. And he gave us truly invaluable information and advice, knowing all the while that we might very well take our family-starting business elsewhere.

What was supposed to be a 90-minute meeting took two and a half hours.

Both Zach and I were reminded of our first meeting with MOSWO, who had the same constellation of qualities and with whom we'd felt an immediate rapport. MOSWO spent hours with us that day, an investment for which we have always been incredibly grateful.

If we'd had a checkbook with us yesterday and enough money in our bank account, we probably would have retained the agency on the spot.

It's probably good that we didn't, because we are still squarely in the due-diligence phase. And one of the other things I learned from having breast cancer is that second—and sometimes third—opinions are essential.

So we will have at least one more agency consultation, and probably more than that.

There are still lots of other elements to figure out—not least of which is beefing up our bank account—but yesterday gave us our first glimpse of the future we've been hoping for ever since we created those two embryos. And even though we still have a long and unpaved path before us, even though we need to be methodical about each step we take, even though we have some difficult decisions and hurdles ahead, we finally feel like this is actually possible.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Progress on Two Fronts

Although my weight has been fluctuating, it looks like I have succeeded in getting halfway to my goal—3.5 lbs. down, 3.5 to go. I had a minor setback over the weekend, which included Zach's birthday and a number of diet-unfriendly dishes eaten in celebration thereof, but I think I am back on track.

Besides focusing on the calories I take in, I'm also working on the ones I expend. Last week, for the first time since a short-lived stint on the track team back in middle school, I started running. Well, not running exactly—run/walking, an approach designed to minimize injury and eventually improve efficiency.

I'm still getting the hang of it all—timing myself so that I run 10 seconds out of every minute, figuring out which headphones are comfortable yet sufficiently sweat-resistant to use for my iPod, getting up early enough to beat the sun and the heat—but so far, so good. (Although I did manage to wear my new running bra inside out one day last week. I'm still not sure how that happened. Just talented, I guess.)

Meanwhile, back at the surrogacy ranch, we have made at least one decision. Preliminarily. Tentatively. We think.

As of now (one more qualifier, for good measure), we're planning to use an agency (as opposed to a lawyer or a fertility clinic or the Internet) to help us find a surrogate and guide us through the process.

Our next step is to figure out which agency, of the hundreds out there, including dozens just in Southern California.

That's going to take some time.

And then it's going to take some money.

And coming up with that money is going to take some more time.

But we are inching forward.

At last.

Friday, July 10, 2009

End Joke Now Sorry

I just read about this cool site, which generates anagrams for whatever word or words you enter.

Some of the best for my name are:

Drones Enjoy Work
Yonder Jokers Won
Nerdy Joker Swoon
Order Enjoys Wonk
Dork Enjoys Owner
Odor Jersey Known
Rowdy Jokers Neon
Wordy Jokers None
Render Joy Know So
Denser Joy Work On
End Joke Now Sorry
Done Jokers On Wry
Drone Jerk Snow Yo
Downer Jerk No Soy
Yonder Jerk No Sow