My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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Jan '13

The Blessing of a Baby Bird

After 7 years of trying, and 3 years of hard core IVF, a couple miscarriages, and a few embryos failing to meet their potential… we’re finally PREGNANT! Embryo #5 is a success.

Having a child in my 40’s certainly wasn’t plan from the beginning and I still think that it’s going to be a scary road… but, sometimes things work out in different ways for a reason. My husband and I have been trying from the beginning but following my diagnosis of Wegener’s Granulomatosis in 2009 we’ve found that even the prospects of having a baby were going to be challenge, a risk, and may just never come true. My doctor actually discouraged us but we marched in protest – assured that we could find a way.

For those of you that know me, I’ve always been “motherly” – I love to take care of my friends in need. But myself, I’ve never really focused on creating a family – instead only thought about study, study, work, career advancement, study, travelling around the world and more study. I’ve had a few fun years of partying and really feel like I’ve lived the best of my life… until now. Now, the prospect of a whole new life is on the forefront. It’s like someone that changes careers after 30 years. I only know one way… now, I’m going to have the opportunity to learn a new way to live life and I am so looking forward to the challenge.

Wegener’s has been one of the biggest struggles in my life, and I know so many friends with challenging autoimmune disorders that have had very similar struggles to me. Part of my treatment involved a full year of chemo with a very potent drug that threw me into menopause and wiped out my egg supply in a quick 10-months. From that point on we were doomed to think that we had no chance to have children, and in our late 30’s we started looking at other viable options.

Adoption was a no go. Although we would have been more than happy to adopt, in Australia, adoption can take anywhere from 5-7 years – I don’t have that kind of time to wait. And not only that, my medical condition, or in fact – any medical condition – knock’s you off the Adoption list immediately. Goodonya Australia! As citizens of Australia we are not allowed to come back to the US for the sole purpose of adopting – it’s a slippery slope and so we chucked the idea pretty early on.

IVF was a good option for us and first we tried to find out if there were any eggs salvageable to use. Knowing that there are no eggs really throws you for a loop. I started seeking out more alternative forms of IVF, including an egg donor. I must say that it was a tough road ‘asking’ for someone’s eggs but in the process of seeking out that right person – SHE was seeking ME out. The most selfless act anyone could give is part of themselves. I am blessed to know someone like that, who has given us a chance at having a family and has been supportive and involved in our family process.

To my egg donor (you know who you are):

You are the most special person I have ever met and I don’t know how I will ever repay you for your loving me so much, that you could ‘offer’ me the chance to be a Mother. Although I live in a land far, far away, I know that you will always be a part of my life and my child’s life. I love you so much. Thank you for the gift that you have given us. I love you more than words can ever say.

We still have a long road and 6-months of struggle ahead of us to get to our goal. Medical problems can be the root of all evil when it comes to having a baby so from this point forward we work at staying healthy, in remission, sleeping A LOT, and controlling my blood sugars to give #5 the best chance at a healthy life.

I pray for all my friends out there still struggling with getting pregnant or trying to adopt, the pain in waiting can sometimes break your will, but be strong and continue on your path. From experience I can tell you… “it’s never too late”.

Lainey & Birdie

Jul '09

Home Sweet Home

Well, finally discharged on Monday – I’ve been home for a couple nights now.  It’s good to be back in my own home again.  I have to realise that we only lived in our new house for 2-weeks before I went into hospital – I was gone for 4-5 weeks and now I’m back!  I still can’t find my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night – it’s all still too new getting around in the dark! 

I have a bit of outpatient treatment to go in the next few weeks, today is my last blood transfusion (thank gawd), but my red blood cell count has been quite low with the plasma pheresis treatments.  Without the blood transfusions I am quite drained, tired, and really unable to function appropriately.  Friday is my last plasma pheresis treatment, in an effort to remove the plasma from my blood replacing it with good plasma – all in an effort to increase circulation to my fingers and reduce the numbing in some if my fingers.

The next 6-months are going to be my test, with my medication it makes it harder to fight off infection (auto-immune), so after I hit the remission marker I will be able to come off the drugs and return to life as normal!

In the interim, my brain is becomming mush!  I can’t wait to get back to work and being busy again.  I’m going back to work on Monday, and I can’t wait to get going again. It will be nice to see my co-workers again and to provide them with the support they’ve been missing with me gone from the team.  Everyone has been so supportive during this difficult time. 

So, I’ll be updating on the blog here and there with medical information however I hope that my life can return to normal and my blog as well! 

Sep '07

It’s Spring

One of the best things about living in Melbourne, and it’s not much different from California, we have very hot Summers and very cold Winters but the Spring and Fall here are fantastic! We have some great smelling floral bush in the front yard, and some great neighbouring trees to our yard.  They don’t all smell fanastic but they look freakin great.  I’m looking forward to another great Melbourne year.  


Friends Old and New

Nobody should get offended here but what I mean by old friend is: long-time.  I had visited England on two different occassions and had connected with a friend who moved there some years ago.  Interestingly enough we lost touch and long before I came to Australia.  One thing about England and Australia is that in many ways they are very similar.  In ailurosa.jpgfact, while just thinking about that I think Australia is the fair dinkum* “in between” of English and American.  The culture takes from both the English i.e., fish & chips, driving on the left, the Monarchy and Commonwealth, and from America I feel like Australia gets a good amount of it’s drive and reach for freedoms, being different, wanting and having what everyone else has, prime retail industry, theme parks, reality TV, and I could go on.  Well, back to my friend Suzanne who lives in England – she is an internet junkie – but more of a gamer than I.  She taught me so much about computer programs and I think that what I learned from here carried into my jobs throughout the last 5-7 years. I would have thought it hard to lose someone who’s on the Internet but somehow we managed to lose each other.  Her son just had a baby and he has been asking her to make a MySpace page so they could exchange pictures of the baby and then she found me! We did have a long chat on the phone the other day and it was so great to catch up.  I really truly missed you Suzanne.  I am so happy you are back in my life, can’t wait to see you back in the States in August next year when we come back for our holiday.

Speaking to friends new and old. I have been struggling for quite some time making friends here mainly because in the position I hold at work I am usually the boss and making nice with the employees is frowned upon. I have a good handful of great friends, but lately I have met more girls through my husband’s work mates (wives) and people he works with.  Saturday we went to Birdie’s work-function “drinks” at 6 Links in the city (Melbourne).  I got to talking with a couple girls from Rod’s work; Ana and Amber, and also another couple of Melbourne girls Hannah and Ruth.  We really had a fun night! I’m looking forward to the next one.

hannah_ruth21.jpg  ana_amber1.jpg

Yeah to meeting new people!



I’m so back on this Facebook kick again, I just have to say I’m getting rid of my MySpace page in exchange for something better. I really like the restrictions Facebook has and it’s much better for kids – it’s not like your profile is hanging out there for the world to see, there are quite a bit more limitations. I worry about how children today are so technologically advanced and that parents today don’t have a chance. If you don’t know what your kid is doing on the Internet – your setting yourself up for a world of hurt. Anywho – it’s a fun format and I’m making the switch! BooooYA!


Mental Status: Getting excited for my trip to Sydney and to have Melinda come meet me there and show me around for my first time.
Weight monitor: This week lost: 1 kg. (2.5lbs) ~ Total lost: 3 kg. (7.5lbs)
New thing online:
Song: Tribute – Tenacious D <-listen here to the greatest and best song in the world!
Best Thing this Week: My husband loves me!

Jul '07

Thank you to everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  Things have been crazy lately – ups and downs of life I suppose.  But today we have some ‘thank you’s’ to our loving friends and family.  As some of you know I recently graduated with my Masters, and my Mother is just so proud of me she’s sending announcements and telling the world. We have received some great letters, email, and cards from everyone in congratulations for this new achievement. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to recognize this feat of amazement, I myself am very proud of.  I keep thinking about my Father this week, in my achievement, and how he would have never thought I could do such a thing – graduate with another degree – but, I did all this for you, and I told you Dad, that I would.  Keeping my word to my Dad has become more important than ever, in passing years. I promised him I would do a lot of things: keep our family together, finish my long-awaited and unexpected education, marry someone that was worth a shit, and have a family of my own.  Keeping the family together is a hard one, especially since the one I married that is worth everything to me lives so far away.  I think I do my part – I talk to my Mother more than once a week and we visit probably more than we used to when I lived an hour away. My brother means everything to me and I have made a special effort to keep him close to me at the expense of my ego and tell him I love him as much as I can.  We are together, more than some families I know.  I can say I am proud of that.

Rod and I have struggled this month with a loss.  A pregnancy to end too soon.  And because of our age we knew better to wait to tell. We shared this news with only a very few. In this loss we have found that our friends and family, although so far away, are still holding up the foundation of our life abroad.  The positive words and encouragement to start again has made us strong.  We thank God for what we have, a loving family, friends that care, giving us the perseverance to press on and try again… which of course we will. 

Still, I reflect of how my life is so different from the States. And how different people are here. I long for my family and friends, so far away, in this time and you are here for us. It means so much to know that we have your support. That we can count on you to lean on, for we have a very few here that are involved in our lives.

Us two Birds, we will persevere!

Enough moosh.  Pray for us, a new conception.

With Love, The Birds


Book:  Reading “Cross” by James Patterson.  I really can’t keep up with his books!  He writes much faster than I read.
Favourite Thing Today: Flowers on my doorstep today from Josh & Stacie in Virginia.  I love you guys. Thanks for the words of encouragement.
Favourite Thing this Week: Saw ‘Knocked Up’ of all things, trying to bring a bit of laughter back to our dreary mindset this week – great flick – very cute!  Not only a chick movie.