Chasing Butterflies with Finley in India Part 1: journal entry1


I am choosing to write the next couple of entries in a journal-like form….

After tearful goodbyes between Maybelline and myself, and a strong, great hug from my better (well maybe not better, but really, really good other) half Craig, I was left at the airport around 3:30 PM on Friday.

The moment after I entered the terminal, Craig called me to tell me that George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” came on right as he pulled away.  For reasons I won’t explain now, it felt like a sign to both of us.

Security was easy.  Then there I was, attached to the outlet so that I could juice up my phone as much as possible, tracking a possible project lead, which turned into me referring other possible producer candidates, since I deemed I wasn’t the right fit for the job.

I spoke with Craig at least 4 times before my flight was to leave and texted a few times as well.

Once I was on the plane, and we were having our last call, I started crying into the phone to him.  A bad traveler anyway – coupled with the idea of missing my husband and doggie so much – layered with the desperate show of love that inspired this trip – heightened with my very ill father really, really put me over the edge.  ”You are doing this for us, for our family,” Craig reminded me.  ”And I’m doing this for our parents and all of our families and friends,” I added, stoic and determined to complete the mission that we have been unquestionably tasked with by the universe.

I watched “The Big Chill”, cause I am a glutton for sadness.  I took Valium and Melatonin to sleep, which brought me less than 3-hours worth.  I picked at some airplane food, ate a chocolate croissant, and then about 10-hours later de-boarded in London.

Tired, I mistakenly took the terminal bus to the wrong next terminal.  Then I got on a new bus, with an American kid who had also taken the wrong first bus.  He was apparently attempting to fly to De Gaulle.

Doctor visit - butterfly sign

– the only decorative item on the Indian doctor’s desk; a sign

Through customs I went, before I had hours in Heathrow’s Airport.  I Skyped with Craig a few times, which was great.  I read. I listened to music.  I mentally calculated what Duty Free Shops I may visit on my return.  And then after 6 hours, boarded the next flight.

British Airways has nicer airplanes than American’s.  A British guy sat next to me, and almost immediately we started chatting.  The thing is, I HATE chatting on airplanes, so after 30 minutes or so I really wanted to stop talking.  Somehow my very American transparent-like personality did not come through, because the chatting went on way longer than 30 minutes.  Sometimes I was at fault, like when I made what I deemed as a closing the conversation comment – which somehow was heard as a question requiring 10 more minutes of explanation from my new friend, Paul, plus the guy next to him, who had eves-dropped on the first half of the conversation before he joined on in.

Eventually we all  slept (perhaps I slept for 2 hours on this flight – in intermittent snippets), and then we landed, and there I was, in New Delhi, India.

It was 9:45 AM, 13.5 hours ahead of my home in Los Angeles.

First I went through customs.  I prayed that the Medical Visa that had been quite complicated to request and eventually receive – would be correctly received.  It was.

I exchanged $100 for Indian Rupees.  Did you know that the Indian government does not allow their currency to be sold in the US, at all?

Then I went to find my bag.  I hoped with desperation that my bag didn’t get lost, as wearing this particular black sweat outfit for any longer was not a good option.  And my bag arrived.

I found my way through the airport.  I saw a million young men holding signs for their fares.  A young man shook the cardboard that said LORRAINE KRAUS, and I smiled and waved like a lunatic.

He drove me to the hotel, and I looked around at the world around me.  Nobody drove in their lane.  I don’t even know if lanes are marked here.  People use horns 100 times more than they use them in a crowded place like Times Square, New York.  Maybe more.  The sides of the roads were littered with poor people in all ages.  At stop lights, young children selling junk would approach our window and tap vehemently 4, 5, 6 times before they acknowledged that I had waved my hand and said, “No.”

We arrived at the hotel, and I was shell shocked.  It was not as I’d imagined.  The foyer smelled of smoke.  The security guy was watching me so closely that he scared me more than anyone else there.  The all night cafe felt like it was straight out of a scene in that film Wes Anderson made about India.  And upon noting that, for a moment, I was comforted.

I went into my room to unpack and shower, and decide how much I could stay awake and what tourist sites I might see that late afternoon.  The WiFi was fast enough for me to quickly look up an alternate hotel, as I thought that might be more Westernized and more comfortable.  I debated whether I should unpack, as the smell of smoke in the hallway lingered in my nostrils and repulsed me.  (Ironically I have stated I would smoke a clove cigarette on this trip, for fun, even though I haven’t smoked in almost 7-years and the smell makes me gag.)  The shower was warm for 1 out of the 4 minutes, but I managed to scrub the travel grit away.

I knew I was going to change my flight to go home early within 3 hours of being at the hotel.  It wasn’t just the hotel, but the missing of those who hold my heart so dearly, and my mounting concern over my Dad, and also of course knowing that I’ll be back here sometime in 2014, to pick up our baby, so any attraction I don’t get to now I can get to, then.

I watched Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs in bed and ate snacks I had brought.  Craig Skyped me at one point, and because of my settings, he was able to see me sleeping and say my name a couple of times before I awoke to seeing him.  He had just come home from Pearl Jam concert. I imagine I spoke in jet lagged jibberish, before telling him I needed to sleep more because the driver was coming back to get me in a few hours.

So while Craig went to sleep, I prepared for my first excursion in New Delhi, the same Sunday evening that I arrived.

I went to Raj Ghat.  All of the observers and those praying were required to have bare feet.  As the sun set and the incense burned, people gently chanted and prayed by the site where Gandhi’s ashes are kept.  I was the only person – upon going to the counter to retrieve the shoes I had voluntarily ( as required) dropped off before entering the sacred area who was asked for a fee for the service of entering.  Confused, and mildly annoyed, I gave them 30 Rupees, which is like .50 cents.  Everyone I walked by looked at me.  Little boys came up to me to ask me if I wanted my photo taken with their camera or my own.  I couldn’t help but think of the film “Slumdog Millionaire”, so I said, “No thank you!” to all and clutched my purse even tighter.

Then I went off to see the Gate of India, a central location that is a commemoration to those Indian soldiers who fought in World War 1. Beautiful flowers had been planted in the shape of India’s National Bird, the Peacock, which stands for happiness, in honor of an imminent anniversary. Throngs of people were there, celebrating the last moments of their Sunday, eating street food, cotton candy, looking at me, trying to sell me artwork or a henna tattoo.

On our (the driver’s and my) way back to the car we saw a Snake Charmer – who flicked his snake and kept motioning for me to get closer.  The photo I captured got me plenty close.  It felt like a gag and there was no fantastic sitar music playing, but it felt as the India I’d imagined.

I was driven to a Westernized market, where I bought water and cookies for the room, and was given some candy I didn’t want in lieu of them having the right, correct change.  Another American woman was in the store, who was buying a box-worth of necessities.  I wondered what she was doing there.  As I was being driven back to the hotel, I saw her lugging that box.  She is a different type of American than I, I thought, as the driver drove me to the front door of the hotel.

I had a night of intermittent sleep pleasantly interrupted with Skype chats, one with both husband and puppy – which warmed my heart.  I was very grateful for the Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs I brought with me, as Larry David can make me laugh and also lull me to sleep.

Somewhere along the hours of the night or morning I called American Airlines and moved my flight up 1-full day, so that I will return on Thanksgiving.  This made me happy, so happy that I had bought that higher priced and changeable ticket.

I ordered America Breakfast on Monday for room service.  It came with orange juice (which upon looking at I chose not to drink as I feared they had added orange flavor to the undrinkable India water), scrambled eggs (which I ate with some suspicion), tea – which they forgot to send me, odd cornflake looking cereal with warm milk (which wasn’t quite the porridge I had thought I had ordered and so was left untouched), toast that came with jam, which I devoured without butter – for fear it didn’t have proper refrigeration.

I had another shower.  The water was piping hot.  I was warming up to this place.

After reading some more pages from the type of book in which a girl can escape without any great concentration (written by a friend from high school), and drinking a medium warm Diet Coke (I didn’t dare use the iced cubes), my driver came and we went off to explore the day.

We went to exchange money at Western Union, where conveniently they ‘forgot’ to give me 50 rupees (which is like .75 cents).  No matter; I caught the mistake and awaited those rupees.

Then I went to the Garden of 5 Senses.  There were a bunch of cows just sitting around in the parking lot. There were stray dogs everywhere I looked, some in heat, others obviously just having given birth to a litter; when I looked close enough, I saw sad eyes.  Perhaps it was my eyes mirrored in theirs?

The Garden of 5 Senses had a lily garden and fantastic trees and plants everywhere I looked and a random camel in the middle of the park and young lovers lurking in every corner.  I wasn’t permitted to take pictures inside, or I would have photographed this incredible art exhibit (so to speak) or dozens of baby boy figurines with their hands in prayer.  It was because my eyes followed a butterfly’s movement that I happened across this strange and surreal exhibit, an obvious sign from above, from the sweet spirit of Finley.

And now it was time to have my first meeting at The Surrogacy Center.  I had looked at the photos and taken the virtual tour, but nothing really prepared me for what I would next experience.

The Doctor was warm and welcoming and asked me to take a seat. She excused herself and I scanned the room, and saw one decorative item on her desk: a paper weight featuring a couple of beautiful butterflies.  Once again, Finley showing me his dedication to Craig’s and my purpose, and what a darling sense of humor he has.

The Doctor returned and took me with great detail through the process, both medically and administratively, including how the surrogates are chosen and cared for and what considerations are taken before the embryos are first thawed and then transferred. She gave me a tour and introduced me to the team of people with whom I’ve been communicating these past several weeks, in preparation for this incredible next step of using a surrogate, renting a womb, so to speak.

There were throngs of young women (not too young) lining the halls waiting to be screened or to get their pregnancy tests or check ups or have embryo transfers performed.

The Doctor and I spoke at length about the surrogates, and what motivates them to be the best vessels they can.  I questioned whether a 31-year old surrogate, which is the age of ours, is ideal, and she with great certainty explained how most Indian women get pregnant and have their two babies by the time they are 25.  Because my surrogate has already had her two children, and they are now 8 and 6 respectively, they can take care of themselves; she needn’t worry that they are not being perfectly cared for – by the family member who is watching over them (as they live with her and her husband) – during the G-D WILLING imminent pregnancy.

The requirements to be a surrogate include being married, having given birth vaginally successfully before, of course being tested for any diseases, and having a family member who can care for her child or children during her time as surrogate.

Our surrogate last gave birth 1-year ago, on behalf of a very lucky couple.

The Doctor said that when a surrogate does not get pregnant, she comes to the office and demands answers from the doctor as to what went wrong.  She wants to be pregnant with our baby as much as we want her to be pregnant with our baby.  The care she will be given is top class, but the money she is being paid will change the entire trajectory of her life. And looking around at the poverty and seeing some children have the privilege to go to school and most not, I see now what an incredible opportunity this is for a surrogate and her family, and that gives me peace and joy like nothing else.  (This peace and joy will obviously be exceeded when our child/children get here :)

The appointment over, it was time to do some shopping, so my driver took me to a fantastic store where I bought myself jewelry, art, and gathered some wonderful holiday gifts for those family members on our list. They were thrilled to have me there, and would push me with their sales tactics from the scarves area to the jewelry area to the art and beyond, in this one stop brilliant India special souvenir shop.

Then it was time to return to The Center again, this time to meet with the lawyer and the surrogate.

In the conference area, I resumed looking at the many thank you notes and pictures of babies that decorated the walls.  There were parents from America to Australia who bestowed their emotional gratitude to the Doctor and her staff, for bringing their baby or babies to them.  This, of course, made me happy.

An Australian couple entered the conference room, and immediately our conversation became intimate.  We talked about eggs and sperm and what they had gone through to get here, to India.  This is their second trip; they had to come to bring more supplies (which means eggs or sperm, in fertility speak).  They talked about the challenges in Australia for infertile couples, and told me they have been on this journey for 10-years.

As cathartic as it has been for me to be writing this blog for almost 1-year, the 15 minutes I spent with them talking about medical visas and pain and costs and hopes and dreams gave me the feeling of wearing comfortable pajamas and socks and being in front of the fireplace next to my husband with my puppy and a blanket in my lap.  By speaking to them, I knew I was home.

I met with the lawyer and signed the appropriate documents, and then it was time for me to meet our surrogate.

More on this, and other experiences in New Delhi, to follow…..

Chasing Butterflies with Finley in India, part 1


Today I am flying to London, where I will arrive during their Saturday, at which time I will get on another flight, that will take me to New Delhi, India, where I shall arrive Sunday morning.

A driver will await me. Having been warned by my mother that in order to anticipate India, I should imagine the most crowded place I’ve ever been, and then multiply it exponentially, and being that I’ve opted not to have my cell phone on while there, because Jesus Christ do I need to unplug right now and my phone carrier doesn’t service India – anyway, I told the person who arranged the driver to look for an overweight American woman, wearing all black sweat outfit, looking incredibly happy to be there.

I am not happy at this moment, as I am scared to leave home.  I hate leaving Craig.  We’ve always been super codependent, but after losing Finley, time and again the idea of being apart makes me have to remind myself to breathe.

And leaving Maybelline is going to be hideous, because having her in my life is the first joy and happiness I have felt since I was pregnant with Finley.  She is not just my puppy.  She is my best friend.  My little daughter.  My heart.  My baby.  My Maybe. (And so I am bringing a stuffed animal to hug at night instead of her.  Yes, seriously.)

I am also scared that my father will not be alive when I get back.  I have had the privilege of the most beautiful and important conversations with him these past several months, and while the doctor has given us no warning that things could happen that quickly, I am with him regularly, and just plain scared of the unthinkable.

But when I get to India, darn it, I will be the person I described for the driver to find. I will be happy, because we have our surrogate. We saw a picture of her just this morning.  She and several other women vied for the position of being our surrogate, but as of this morning, her uterine lining looked perfect for her to start her Progesterone medication, to prepare for the Transfer of our two beautiful, glorious, loved and wanted embryos – next Wednesday.  One is Grade A, the other one is Grade B, slightly deteriorated.  They were shipped from Encino to New Delhi, and will be thawed the morning of the transfer.  I pray that they thaw well!

I didn’t have some warm and fuzzy feeling when I saw our surrogate’s photo, but I know that once I am at the Surrogacy Center in India and I’ve met with the doctor and all of her associates with whom I’ve been emailing and speaking these past several weeks, and once I meet with the lawyer, and once I am surrounded by people whose business it is to make OTHER people parents, I imagine I will feel overwhelmed with gratitude.

I will also be conflicted. Not because I have not come to terms with this need; I am a producer for a living, and live in a solutions based world.  A goal has been set, and since directions A, B and C (1 through 13) didn’t work, it is time to move on to direction D, so to speak.

I had the intimate experience of knowing Finley while he was growing inside of me, and it almost makes him EVEN more special that he will have been the only son to whom I gave birth, before his life was ripped from our clutching hands.

I will be conflicted because the same day that I will be meeting the doctor and the associates and touring the clinic and (likely) meeting my surrogate, is the same day 4-years ago that I was hospitalized ‘to term’.  I was 23.5 weeks pregnant, with clothes on my bed at home strewn and waiting to be packed away for our next day’s trip to Florida for Thanksgiving to visit Craig’s Dad and Stepmom, and within the simple sentence uttered by my Israeli gynecologist, “You’re not going anywhere”, mine and my husband’s entire lives shifted.

And the days prior to that, including today, 4 years ago exactly (the Friday before Thanksgiving that is), when I was keeled over with what I thought were Braxton Hicks cramps (which they weren’t), preparing menu ideas for the celebration dinner for my best friend who was in remission for cancer (who died 15 months later), have actual sound design to them:  Tick.  Tock. Tick.  Tock.  My heart beats in tune with the sadness that comes over me when I think about what was about to happen, and how that all felt.

But it is 4-years later.  I’ve accepted Finley’s death.  I’ve no fault in the death of our infant son.  I did everything I could then, and have honored him since, by talking about him, and by acknowledging the hurt that I have experienced.

I see people on Facebook comment on the lack of quiet time they get because of their children.  Others post articles about how their social lives have changed.  Or that they don’t get to sleep more than 2-hours at a time.

And it is not envy I feel, but a conclusive feeling that they will never, ever get how lucky they are.  They will never understand what it is like to have aching arms, a hole in their hearts, and be climbing uphill on a marathon for every single day, for almost 4 years.

Are they lucky?  Well, yeah, of course, but I have to believe that the journey that I am on with the best husband I could imagine and the most loving community I could hope for is going to bring us the riches we deserve.

I have finished packing.  The framed photo of Finley is safely tucked away, so that I can light up his beautiful face every night with the candles I have brought.  I am wearing 4 pieces of jewelry only, including the necklace that states Finley.

And now I am off, with my husband’s support and blessings, to go chase butterflies with Finley, in India.


Thank you for wishing us well.



I’ve been monitoring my period every single month since the middle of 2008 – save for my shortened pregnancy with the tragic outcome, which was so complicated and riddled with issues that I feared it coming pretty regularly – which makes it coming early this month and me having no next steps that rely on my body make me feel very powerless.

I mean, I’ve always been powerless over trying to get pregnant; that much I’ve learned by now:  Reading spiritual meditations daily didn’t effect the outcome.  Taking my extraordinarily strong and expensive medications perfectly and always arriving at my doctor’s office on time didn’t do it. My constant dialogue, prayers, pleading with G-d hasn’t brought our next child here.  Becoming as educated on my body’s reproductive system as a fertility specialist or the herbs or the acupuncture or the healing sessions or the special combination of vitamins with the fancy and special pre natal vitamins and the rituals and the food cleanses or the multiple uterine scrapings or the hysteroscopy, or the entire combination of the above, has not introduced us physically to our next child or children.

And yet I know our daughter and / or son is coming.

And my daily schedule that monitors which day of my cycle it is no longer dictates my next appointment, but it still brings us one day closer to becoming parents again.

Sometimes I think people must think I’m crazy to be as confident and determined as I am to keep going.  I know so many people that gave up along the way, or switched gears, and after 13 IVFs, roughly 13 embryo transfers, innumerable IUIs, and trying naturally multiple times at the right time every month since 2008 – again, save for my pregnancy, I have stopped pretending that my body can carry a pregnancy.

For the roughly 11-days that I wait in between an embryo transfer and a pregnancy test, I can barely breathe.  I am scared that putting a spoon in the dishwasher or picking up my puppy Maybelline’s toys or leaning over to put on shoes will result in miscarrying the pretend pregnancy, the pregnancy that will fulfill mine and my husband’s dreams and what I perceive as our purpose; of being parents to Finley’s brother or sister (or both).

So after the last failure, which was confirmed on September 30th, and subsequent to the last conversation with my doctor, October 3rd, and after my last blog post, I went into producing mode – and we now have a solution as to how our baby or babies will get to us.  I know it will work; will it be the first transfer into a SURROGATE late this month?  Will it be a 2nd or 3rd embryo transfer next year?  No matter: I have released the burden, the huge, painful, disappointing, and serious burden of carrying a pregnancy – from myself.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t actually have a choice as to whether I’d carry a pregnancy.  I haven’t gotten pregnant since my miscarriage (the chemical pregnancy) in late 2010.  But what I realize is that the waiting period of those 11 days that I hope and pray without pause that this time it works is an indication of how stressful the pregnancy, had it happened, would have been: I already know that I would file for disability around week 10 and get a handicap placard so I didn’t have to walk far, that I would get a Cervical cerclage and have the best high risk specialist in town sew that incompetent cervix of mine up around week 12, after we’d confirmed that the baby or babies were genetically healthy, that I would not be able to do my job – my highly stressful mentally, emotionally, and often even physically exerting job that sometimes includes travel or chasing people down at any given location – and that my pregnancy would be high risk, therefore putting me on some form of bed rest early on.

I already know how hard it is for me not to put the wash into the dryer during that 11-day waiting period, because I am compulsive and always like stuff done the way I want when I want.

So it has come as a huge relief to ACCEPT that I can not get pregnant again, that my body is not to be the vessel that brings our baby into the world, AND that there is a less expensive (though still more tens of thousands of dollars) option that really embraces some perfect qualities – even more so than an American surrogate.

(I’ll update you with that information soon.)

And with all that written, the truth is, I am mourning the fact that I will not be pregnant again. That I will not develop a relationship with my next child the way I did with Finley – since I knew him so well as he grew from a being the size of a bean to a very small baby, who loved John Lennon’s “Watching the Wheels”; craved bagels and cream cheese; typically rested low, at the bottom of my uterus; was a tremendous kicker (as evidenced by the movie taken at my first amniocentesis); whose spirit was so incredibly strong that our relationship has grown significantly, even though he is dead.

I am mourning the fact that I will never breast feed; that I will never be pregnant, surrounded by loving friends and family at a baby shower where our baby is celebrated.  (Separately, praying that my friends plan a baby shower for after we bring our baby back, G-d willing, in 2014!).

I am left feeling barren. Which I am.  And it is a feeling that disconnects me from G-d.  I trust the universe, and feel nature propelling me forward, but I won’t read any of the morning meditations I used to read; I won’t praise G-d – not because I don’t believe in him anymore, because I still do actually pray to him – but because he’s a total jerk for having my husband and me tackle another significant hurdle before giving us the blessing we know is coming.

On my daily calendar on my phone, I used to have every single day of my cycle.  It would state:  Day — (– day cycle)

And every day after I would complete taking all of my pills – the 6 Pre Natal pills which had to be refrigerated and taken 2 at a time, at meals – plus the CoQ10, the 2 DHEA, the Folic Acid, the Calcium, the Baby Aspirin – that I had arranged in a bag that I would dig into every morning and evening – before I would change the number of the ‘day’ and move this ‘appointment’ on my calendar onto the next day.

This appointment, so to speak, would remind me if I should be starting my ovulation tests, or if I should prepare for my period, if it was time to start thinking of taking a pregnancy test, when to schedule my next doctor’s appointment, etc.

Now I have it listed just so I know when my period is coming, since I I can’t bear to remove this entirely from my schedule – though I have removed it as a daily appointment, since I can’t bear to think about what this has meant to me since we began trying and I began monitoring my cycle, in the middle of 2008.

I have an extra $100 bottle of Pre Natal pills in our cupboard. I will keep them there – you know, in case….

That time of year is upon me, where I begin the countdown to the day I was hospitalized, before everything changed, before I went into labor December 3rd, 2009.  The air, the color of the leaves, the long sleeves I wear, and my heart tell me this; I don’t even need a calendar.

And my father is sick, very, very sick, and I am overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility to help him through this time, because it is a privilege to help someone.

But it is an emotional teeter totter I am on: On one side I know that I owe Finley, you, and myself the part of the story that happened on and after December 3rd, 2009 – how I reacted, what it was like, who held me up and who let me down.  I must prepare for December 3rd and 4th, and decide how I will honor him this year, the year that marks the 4th anniversary of his birth and subsequent death.

Close to that highly emotional side, I am my father’s medical advocate, the one person he relies on to be the voice and his mind during his many doctor’s appointments – which is time consuming and very exhausting.  But I am the only one who is capable of that, and so I must continue.

And on the other side, I have cause for real celebration: my husband and I have a solution to the fact that I can not get pregnant, and we are very fortunate that we can afford this solution – of me traveling to another country (!) to hire a surrogate whose generosity of her time and body will help the trajectory of our lives, and whose compensation will help the trajectory of hers.

I cannot remember being this emotionally conflicted, ever, and yet I am calm, because I know that there is nothing more to do than what I can do, which is put one foot in front of the other, and stay the course.

I can’t wait to tell you where our embryos already are and where I am going to meet my surrogate… over Thanksgiving!  Clue: it is a spiritual mecca and was on my bucket list!  Next post – coming soon.

Thanks as always for taking the time to read, for your prayers, and for your continued support!