Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ancestry Part II

Well, the results are in.....

I am 91% Ashkenazi Jewish.  Hardly a surprise.  One interesting factoid I learned: most Ashkenazi Jews are ordinarily in the 96% range in their DNA, so there were a few more trace regions in my DNA.

Now the trace regions were the surprise:  Not an ounce of Asian DNA.  Or even Central Asian.  This is surprising because my mother's family always just assumed there was some Asian in there somewhere (based on my grandmother and aunts eyes, and a very very faded picture that existed somewhere of my great-grandfather).

What was represented on the trace region DNA:
  • Great Britain 3% (no surprise, my mother's maiden name is a big give away)
  • Eastern Europe 1% (someone from the Shtetl intermarried in one of those countries there somewhere)
  • Scandinavia 1% (HUH!?!?)
AND.....wait for it.....
  • North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Sub-Sahara) 2% 

Aha!  This explains my Dad - who is often mistaken for Spanish, and probably my ability to tan.

The Viking's results are in too, and they are striking because he is in fact ONLY 16% Viking.  So while he looks completely like a dude you would see walking down the street in Stockholm, in fact he is mostly Eastern European.  With some Scandinavian and Irish thrown in for good measure.  I love this because it illustrates so well the power of family lore and perception.  Here's why:  To hear his mother talk, he's the bi-product of a line of a race of Stoic Hardworking Protestant Swedes who ended up tilling fields in Minnesota and thriving during the Great Depression.  Yeah, sure, that's part of his story, but there's also a line of people who tilled fields in Hungary (or whatever Hungary was at the time) who strongly influence his DNA.  And my point in all of this, is that the Scandinavians can't claim ownership on stoicism and hard work.

I think the coolest thing about the story our DNA tells, is that our stories are universal.  Sure we carry cultural perspectives and traditions.  But we also like to kid ourselves into believing highly suspect Nationalist-y arguments as to "why we are the way we are." 

All of this has gotten me to think about the story of my family, as told by my DNA, and the issues of Jewish identity.

Can I go back a little and be honest, and admit that I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Niblet started identifying as Jewish?  We did not really indoctrinate her into either religious or cultural tradition, she honestly had many questions about Judaism and got there on her own.  In Judaism, your Jewishness is determined by the matrilineal line, so if Mom is Jewish technically, you are too. But for Viking and I, we both believed that whatever tradition our child connected to was somewhat out of our hands.  We agreed that I would expose her to mine to the extent that I observe these traditions (attending High Holiday services, hosting Seders at Passover, etc.). Niblet took great interest in all of this.

I've always felt greatly connected to my cultural heritage as a Jew.  But now the DNA is getting me to understand that there is an ethnic heritage there as well.  European Jews lived in segregated communities for centuries  - regardless of the nation-state they landed in.  They married each other.

I changed that for sure.  Before I even considered carrying a baby that wouldn't have this genetic make-up, I carried a baby who has a much wider swath of ancestral stories in her DNA.  Some Jews disdain this choice of mine, saying I have betrayed my ancestors.  I think a lot of things when I think about my ancestors.... pain and fear come to mind first.  But my love for someone with a different set of DNA memories, and our resulting love for Niblet, well, that's pretty far from betrayal in my book.

Friday, October 21, 2016


I have talked forever about social media.  How it's the devil.  How it's insanely triggering.  How it just leaves me in a puddle of sick and sadness. 

Never so much so as during this election.

I can't even begin to put into words how awful this election is, and how that third debate and the conversation around late term abortions has rendered me incapacitated.  I just can't talk about it.

I am triggered when well-meaning friends post supportive articles and messages on choice and the heartbreaking choice.

I am triggered when friends and acquaintances post diatribes and general shit-show memes and articles about how women like me are murderers.

I am triggered when I read any of the comments.  On anything.  Despite breaking the one Prime Directive to NEVER READ THE COMMENTS.

I am going to take a ballet class tonight to not think about any of this.  I am supposed to knock on doors tomorrow for a candidate in a swing county in a swing state and not think about any of this (it's part of my job).  I actually talk about politics and social issues for a living.  I am quite good at it.  I'm good in front of a podium, I'm good a conference table, I'm handy with a power point, and I am good one on one.

But right now, I am mute.

There's a lot of talk on my online support group boards about how now more than ever we need to be open and vocal about our stories.  Well, I'm two years out out from my heartbreaking choice, and only a few weeks out from my latest miscarriage.

I am mute. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The day after...

Well, I did it.  Appointment has been made for a new clinic on November 9th.  The day after the electiopocalypse.   Hopefully I don't wind up with the RE who wants to crack post-election jokes.... though honestly, a review of my case history will sober anyone up and should bring even the most douchey and unprofessional of doctors in line.  A girl can hope, right?

After a little strong-arming (this is a lot of money Dude, you need to be there too), the Viking will be joining me.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Another Effed October 15th

This past Saturday marked Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. 

This October 15th I happened to be working. And when my work day ended, I somehow found myself in the company of my best friend at work - who is pregnant again - and playing on the floor with her one year old daughter, and her daughter's three young cousins, aged 6 mos to 4 years.

Me, with a sixth ring placed on my middle finger, surrounded by young children.

In other words, you were some kinda bitch to me Universe.

THEN, I have this ridiculous conversation with my husband, a man who doesn't do nuance or complicated conflicting emotions very well:

"I have to call the clinic in DE for a consultation appointment.... but the good news is, I found a donor on there who looks a lot like me, she has brown hair and brown eyes, and is really talented in musical theater."
"Ok.... but a baby is a baby."
"Riiight, that's easy for you to say, you're not the one losing your genetics in this plan."
"If you're going to feel that way, maybe we shouldn't do this at all."

What the ever loving fuck?

As much of a partner I have, I am pretty damn isolated in this.  I didn't even tell him until last night about the chemical I had last month.

Jesus.  This is why I am the only person in my family who sees a therapist.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

And so it goes

Aaaand I think I just experienced a(nother?) chemical pregnancy.

I don't feel anything about it.  I mean nothing.  An egg may have met with Viking's sperms and may have tried to implant, and so it goes.

Onwards, I suppose.

I've been spending the past few days trying to find an Obstetrician who would make me feel less crazy if I actually pulled the trigger and went through with this crazy plan.  Someone who would monitor my cervix, perhaps prescribe me lovenox (because MTHFR), and treat me like the eggshell plaintiff that I am (that's a little lawyer gallows humor.  I have no intention of suing anyone).

This is harder than you might imagine.  I've already burned through two OBs over the course of my last five losses.  Had I had the energy to find a new one, maybe I would have burned through more.  My REs, with the exception of Dr. K, have been useless.  Dr. K belongs to a clinic which I have removed from my list for DE IVF.

On  the positive front, I have found a clinic that may fit the bill for the laundry list of what I am looking for in an IVF clinic, including working with a surprisingly decent egg donor base who may also hit all of the right marks on that laundry list.... but the clinic is in Delaware.  Now, I'm not far from Delaware, not really, but it's still an hour away.  Close enough to work with for IVF, but not close enough for monitoring.  Still, I am planning on making an appointment with them soon.  After the nightmare of our upcoming Presidential Election (cough shit show cough) is over and done with.

"Stop thinking. Act"