The Hashtag

November 9, 2013

This whole surrogacy thing can be incredibly surreal at times. Most Assisted Reproductive Medicine (ART) is team oriented in that it takes so many people – doctors, nurses, sometimes egg/sperm donors – to make the magic happen. But surrogacy is probably the most team oriented as the third party’s obligations last much longer than say, a sperm donor’s.

So in the spirit of teamwork, B (she’s the gestational carrier in case you forgot) and I were talking about possible T shirts and hashtags for this venture of ours. I know some people don’t really ‘get’ the use of hashtags at all (I love them due my overwhelming need to bin things), or at least outside of Twitter, but whether you do or don’t like the concept I think everyone can appreciate just having a team name. Or mascot.

What do I want in a hashtag? Well, first there’s the obvious: it must be fox themed. I mean, DUH.

Secondly, and I feel strongly about this, is the feeling of this not only being a group/team effort but there’s something…sly about it almost (to build on the fox theme). I feel like our efforts to #outfoxIF are on the level of hijinks. Shenanigans. Escapades. Group involvement around a plan that is somehow different from most plans. Or crazier. It involves an element of trickery and is somehow therefore lighter and more fun. Or maybe I just want it to be fun because surrogacy is so damn SERIOUS.

Anyway, my original idea was #Foxcapades. But it didn’t incorporate the third element I wanted to capture: the fact that we are making BABY foxes. I couldn’t seem to come up with anything that worked with Kit or Pup. Or any other diminutive form of fox.

And then B wrote me this:

What about KitCaper? Or if we wanted to go Kardashian KitKaper. 馃槈

Um…have I mentioned I love alliteration? No? I do. My twitter handle is not @FurrowedFox by accident. So Kardashian or not, I like it.

Not only is caper in keeping with my ideas of a light-hearted group effort, but it’s also reminiscent of The Great Muppet Caper. And I pretty much love all things Muppet. Well done, B!

Then someone on Twitter referred to B and me as a #DynamicDuo. We do make a good team, I think. I’m not sure we’d make good superheroes but we could definitely rock some capes. And some flow charts.

[It’s OK if you don’t get that last reference. B will. ;-)]

And so, without further ado, I give you the three hashtags for this surrogacy.

  1. #outfoxIF – this one mostly represents me trying to do just that.
  2. #DynamicDuo – this one represents (in my mind) B & me as a bun baking team.
  3. #KitKaper – this one represents EVERYONE who is has been involved in the process. All the docs and nurses along the way, the men who have stood by us, the friends and family who have supported us and all the Tweeps & Bleeps out there who offer virtual support. This hashtag is for you!

So let’s all meet up, clad in black of course (capes are optional), and make this happen!

I’m Good At Twitter

November 2, 2013

Apparently I’m “good at” Twitter.

Or so someone told me recently. My first reaction was, “Is that like being good at Play Doh?”

Several years ago a 3 year old I was babysitting told me I was “good at Play Doh.” I’m not really sure how you can be good or bad at Play Doh since the idea is simply to create something that didn’t exist before, but, if it’s a compliment, I’ll take it. I’d love to be able to put it on my resume but, sadly, it’s probably not relevant. What I would give for a job that valued Play Doh skillz!

Back to Twitter. It is becoming a recurring topic on this blog since I apparently spend a lot of time there. It even has its own tag now. Which is kind of scary to me but taxonomically (is that a word?) appropriate.

Being “good at Twitter” inherently implies that someone can also be “bad at” Twitter. Which I think is very true. I wrote a post about people who “don’t get” Twitter trying to explain it to them. So if some people are bad at it I suppose it is possible that I’m “good at” it. That said, no one is perfect and I did have a recent stumble.

So…what do you think? Are some people “better at” Twitter than others?

And now I leave you with a bird, cuz TWEET.
bird

Twitter Dramaz

October 22, 2013

Oy.聽

Sorry about that you guys.聽 I don’t usually cause the Twitter Dramaz.聽 If I participate at all it’s usually to defend a tweep. But this time, it was me who was defended.聽 And I thank you all for the show of support.

Here’s the backstory for the folks not on twitter and to fill in the gaps for the ones who are.

Last week was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (OCt 15th).聽 I joined a Facebook group with that title.聽 Perhaps I should have expected dead baby pics to appear in my feed.

But I didn’t.

Was that silly of me?聽 Perhaps.

I logged in to Facebook and was greeted with a picture of a dead baby with a caption that indicated its age at 18 weeks gestation.聽 This pic was posted to the group and I do not know the mother who posted it.聽 The pic was…well I found it disconcerting.
The pic was of a just born stillborn baby.聽 When I say just born, I mean it had not been cleaned up.聽 It was a bloody mess (my apologies if that sounds offensive or is triggering but it was). All babies come out like that.聽 Most people prefer to take pics later. Perhaps she didn’t get the chance to do so.
But the state of the baby was a large part of WHY it disturbed me.

And so I tweeted about it.聽
this was my original tweet:

image

And this was my tweet in reponse to someone who inquired about it:
image

In retrospect I can see how comparing it IN ANY WAY to an aborted baby might offend someone.聽 And I am genuinely sorry that it did offend someone.聽 My heart breaks for her (her Twitter bio says she lost at 20wks).聽

Not to excuse it but here was my thought process:

1. I needed to describe the pic in 140 characters or less and was worried about using graphic words like “bloody.” I am still struggling to find a way to describe it that won’t offend anyone – even with more than 140 characters at my disposal. It was a graphic pic.

2. I have never seen any other dead baby pics besides the ones used in anti-abortion campaign ads.聽 Which may not even be of aborted babies.聽 For all I know they use pics of stillborn babies in those ads.聽 Which is why I likened it to the ad and not abortion itself. Perhaps I’m sheltered.聽 But I just don’t go around googling “dead baby pics” so I had no other frame of reference for what I was seeing. My own losses weren’t like that.

3. The baby was still bloody, further reminding me of the anti-abortion ads because they go for as much shock and gore as possible.

What did not enter my thought process at the time but almost certainly affected my decision to make such a comparison is this:

For me personally, abortion and pregnancy loss are inextricably intertwined.聽 I know most women draw a thick hard black line between the two.聽 But I live in that gray space in between.聽 My babies did not die on their own.聽 I killed them.聽 I had to.聽 Accepting that as fact and owning it gives me more power and comfort than trying to paint a rainbow over it.聽 But I’m a dark humor type person and I prefer to own my guilt rather than let it own me.聽 I call my twins the Zombabies for Kermit’s sake! I understand that most people don’t think like that.聽 But I do.聽

So… excused or not, that’s where I was coming from when I made the comment that sparked the controversy.

With all that explained, I would like to further elaborate on the topic.

My original post sparked some conversation.聽 While most people seemed to agree with it, a few people piped up and said, Wait a sec.聽 They offered me another perspective.
They very kindly and respectfully said, Hey, did you think about it this way?聽 And so I did.聽 And I realized that maybe that pic brings that mother comfort.聽 And maybe she finds it beautiful.聽 And maybe it’s the only one she has or will ever have. And who am I to judge that just because that wasn’t even an option for me?

So by the time any of this drama had started I had already started thinking of it differently.聽 Thanks to respectful twitter conversations.

And those conversations are now continuing and advocating that talking about your loss openly and having professional pics of your baby go a long way to helping you heal from the loss.聽 I couldn’t agree more and I now have a new perspective. Yay for rational communication!
All this has opened my eyes to the concept of professional photos of lost little ones (didn’t know that was a thing) that apparently look much better in black and white or with a bit of photoshop help.

Again, I’d like to reiterate that the photo I saw was not that.聽 It was not professionally done. The baby had not been cleaned up.聽 It looked like an afterbirth snapshot.聽 It was not at all how *I* would like to remember *my* baby.聽 But to each her own. And perhaps it’s all she has. And my heart goes out to her.

I do still think that photos like that are not appropriate for public forums – even for a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day group.聽 Or perhaps even LESS appropriate for such a group as it’s sure to be triggering for someone. I found it disturbing but surely someone else found it emotionally debilitating.

But if it made that mother feel better…聽 Or if it made her loss seem more real…

If it helped her in any way to post that then I think it’s hard to not be OK with it.

But it could have also left someone else more disturbed than it left me.

We all have to grieve in our own ways and sometimes it’s difficult not to step on someone else’s toes.聽 I guess I should just be happy that arguments like today’s don’t happen more often. I tried to smoothe things over but, alas, it didn’t work.聽 It just incited more bile to spew forth at me and those who gallantly came to my defense.

For those that did not witness the #TwitterHate today, here’s what happened:

Apparently my post offended someone with a private account who lost a baby at 20 wks.聽 A friend of hers with a public account (who has also experienced a similar loss) decided to take me to task for it – 4 days later.聽 I have zero issue with that in and of itself.聽 But she refused my apology and resorted to name calling very early in the conversation. It quickly devolved into a word brawl.聽 I can handle name calling – especially when the names are amusing (Brit slang vs American slang).

[Yes, I had to google “bellends”]

But then there was a gut punch aimed at me and I had to just walk away.

image

And so, to the two ladies whom I offended, I really am truly sorry that my words hurt.聽 To the one with the private account: I really hope you can forgive me.聽 To the one spewing bile from the public account: I really hope you find a sense of peace soon so that you can stop chanelling your grief as anger toward others.聽 It’s a natural reaction but it’s hurtful.

I can honestly say that no harm was meant by me.聽 But someone else intentionally inflicted wounds. And they hurt.

This should be interesting. I’m not entirely sure I really want to tackle this topic of understanding Twitter but… I feel sort of compelled. One of the people who prompted a previous post regarding Childfree By Choice is now also inspiring this post. You see, what that guy said on twitter was slightly offensive but, for the most part, he was nice and fairly polite about it and even apologized. Unlike other Childfree folks I’ve encountered who are just… mean. As Twitter offenses go, it barely ruffled my feathers.

But part of his apology was predicated upon his claim that he doesn’t understand Twitter.

If I had a nickle for every time I’ve heard someone say (or seen it written), “I just don’t get Twitter” then I would have my family paid for built already.

So let me explain it to all far and wide. [I say that with only a touch of snark, I really do aim to educate]

Twitter is like a huge party.

Most people congregate in their own little area with people they know or with people they know to have similar views or interests and interesting topics of conversation. [In my case Infertility] Every now and again one or more of your group might overhear something being discussed by the group next to you [Childfree, Infant Loss, Women’s Rights, Health Care] and maybe you just eavesdrop or maybe you jump in and participate for awhile before returning to your group.

Every now and again you may wander off to the restroom [news] or to get a drink [celebrity “news”] or a snack [whatever topic is trending at the moment] and happen upon someone talking about something that interests you so you stop and chat or just listen for awhile [what happened on last night’s episode of ___________].

And every so often someone in the middle of the room does something so wild and crazy that the whole party stops and stares and then discusses what just happened. In real life these things are people like Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen or events like the Sandy Hook shooting or the Boston Marathon bombings or any major political news/event.

And sometimes people arrive, say something witty [Bronx Zoo Cobra] or just walk around muttering to themselves [spam] and then leave [people who don’t “get” Twitter or those who are blocked/suspended]. Or they get drunk and start shouting nonsense at everyone [Amanda Bynes].

Just like in real life, conversations can be difficult to follow. The music is too loud [too many people responding], or someone is speaking too softly [private account you don’t follow] or something distracts you [OMG a famous person had a baby], etc [a Kardashian did something marginally interesting]. And sometimes you have to repeat yourself. And sometimes, while you are repeating yourself at full volume, the music stops and everyone hears you yelling about that one time at band camp. [Cue humiliation and/or unwanted attention/attacks]

As far as I’m concerned none of this excuses being rude. Just because someone with a different viewpoint might be listening in doesn’t give you the right to claim that what you said is not offensive to your own crowd so it’s therefore OK to say. Would you claim that if you said something racist? Is it OK to say something racist to other racists? I imagine they would say yes. But I think the rest of us might have a different opinion.

This particular person used a flow diagram to demonstrate his point of how difficult it is to follow a twitter conversation. I challenge that diagram. It’s not about the individual conversations but the people themselves. I wish I had had the time to make my own diagram but these should suffice. They are social network diagrams and they are used to represent social circles that exist both in real life as well as online. Yes, it can be complex. But it need not be difficult to understand – especially when viewed through my party analogy. [*pat myself on the back*]

source prblog.typepad.com source prblog.typepad.com source www.materialworldblog.com

With that said, is it possible then to make the rounds at this party expressing your views and never clash with anyone? No, I don’t think so. Not if you are truly expressing yourself. But there are polite ways to agree to disagree. It’s true that 140 characters makes it all the more difficult. But I prefer to think of it as a challenge to be succinct rather than a limitation. Use your grown up words.

Public or Private?

June 1, 2013

I’m at a crossroads. And in more ways than one.

If you follow this blog and/or my twitter account then you know that my Hail Mary FET was cancelled and my RE broke up with me. I’ve been sent back down to the Minors and now am at the mercy of a regular GYN as we navigate pain management and contemplate hysterectomy. So… that’s my infertility fork in the road: Adoption or surrogacy?

But that’s another post.

crossroads

[photo source]

What’s been weighing on my mind more heavily for the last month is the fact that I’ve put all this information out there for all to see. And, suddenly, more people started reading it. [Because of this post: NIAW Aftermath]

I started this blog anonymously as an outlet for my emotions after my diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF). The blog has changed and grown (and spewed vomit) with me and all the crazy diagnoses and twists and turns along the way. I’ve posted about all things infertility related, eldercare, divorce, photography and life in general. And I shared it all in the hope that it would be both therapeutic for me and perhaps helpful to others.

I still want it to be that. But as I share more information, and occasionally get more traffic, I start to feel a bit… exposed. I’ve been more or less relying on hiding in plain sight and walking a fine line of oversharing with perceived anonymity. Yes, I’m aware that no one is truly anonymous on the internet. Unless you’re a master hacker then any savvy query can find you. But, after three years, I’ve made it easier and easier to identify me. [Rare diagnoses don’t help] I’ve befriended people and met online friends in real life. The line between my real name and my online identity has blurred quite a bit.

Sometimes I’m OK with that. Sometimes I’m not.

Mostly I worry about IRL friends and family (or my docs) finding this blog and less about strangers learning my real name.

I recently made my twitter account private and cleaned house. There were A LOT of spam/bogus accounts following me. I blocked a lot of people. It needed to be done. If I blocked you and you’re a real person out there struggling, I offer my sincerest apologies. My twitter is now public again so shout at me.

I’m not sure I’m truly ready to “own” this blog by putting my real (full) name on it. But I’ve had a few offers to guest blog recently so I have to believe that something here is helpful to others and worthy of being shared. And so…I’ve decided to go public again.

Perhaps it’s not so much a crossroads but two paths on opposite sides of the same road.

2 paths

[photo source]

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has walked this fine line. If you’ve wrestled with this what did you decide?

My New Moniker

August 16, 2012

From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/furrow
fur路row (f没r, fr)
n.
1. A long, narrow, shallow trench made in the ground by a plow.
2. A rut, groove, or narrow depression: snow drifting in furrows.
3. A deep wrinkle in the skin, as on the forehead.
v. fur路rowed, fur路row路ing, fur路rows
v.tr.
1. To make long, narrow, shallow trenches in; plow.
2. To form grooves or deep wrinkles in.
v.intr.
To become furrowed or wrinkled.

OldRe described the “anomaly” that produced my first ectopic as a “tunnel.” Apparently, it’s back. Furrow seems to fit. Even if it “heals” again, I fear it will continue to recur. And so, instead of a Furrowed Brow, I have a Furrowed Uterus. And I am now @FurrowedFox.

The Word Game

August 8, 2012

It should come as no surprise, especially following the recent Twitter debate over the word Childfree, that I like language and word play.

But this post is actually NOT about the debate of the term Childfree. I think I’ll address that separately at a later time. Soon.

I have not formally studied linguistics but I have studied several languages. I am fascinated by words in other languages that capture complex ideas in one word when it would take at least three to convey the same meaning in English. I love that language evolves and we now have words like “frenemy.” I have an inexplicable fondness for alliteration.

You may not realize it but, despite the weird name, a lot of thought went into my blog name. And I’m still happy with it. It’s very… allegorical.

But I’m now on a quest. A quest for a new Twitter handle.

@StolenEggs just doesn’t fit anymore. My eggs did disappear. I had no reason to expect they’d return. But some of them did. Perhaps they were, in fact, stolen and the thief felt guilty and decided to return some of them. It’s not that it’s entirely inaccurate.

But since then… I just keep getting new diagnoses.

Non-tubal Ectopic Pregnancy. Adenomyosis. Tubal Ectopic Pregnancy. Tubal…Weirdness. A hole in my uterus (most likely related to the adenomyosis).

At one point I pondered @EmpressEctopic. I was going to use that if I had a third ectopic. But apparently I won’t.

@KitlessVixen occurred to me since it follows the Fox theme. But anything using Vixen might give the wrong idea. Not that that’s a bad thing, I’m just not sure I want to go in that direction.

One person suggested @BrokenBasket. Apt. It captures the current status. As does @UselessUte. The former is a little more generalizable in that it doesn’t overtly mention body parts.

But… my body likes to buck the system so perhaps I need something even more generalizable. Something that will last. Something that captures me now but will still hold true if I have a kid (through any means).

Or maybe the best way to get my uterus to function properly is to change my handle to @UselessUte. Reverse psychology and all. Seems to have worked for the eggs…

Anyhoo… I really want to find something that describes me, is witty, preferably alliterative or rhyming, and will hold true forever. Regardless of whether my uterus heals, or I have a bio child using a gestational carrier or if I adopt.

Something that captures the idea of infertility and my particular experience without being too explicit or referencing one diagnosis over another.

Perhaps I’m on a quest for a unicorn.

Regardless, let the brainstorming begin!

FOX THEMED
@InfertilityOutFoxed – Too long. How many characters do we get again? I know @FoxInTheHenHouse is too long since that’s how I ended up with @StolenEggs.

@FurtiveFox – I do like my anonymity, what I have left of it.

@FertilityFox – *yawns*

How about some rhymes?

@FoxOnTheRocks – Pretty sure this one’s taken

@APoxOnFox – meh, maybe it will grow on me

Anyone got any ideas? If I use your idea you’ll get… bragging right?…my remaining pee sticks? It’s all I have to offer at the moment.