The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The U.T.E.R.U.S. Needs You

We are flashing the bat signal again. And I know, I know, I know, that this is not how we were going to do this. We were going to discuss and vote and do this in an orderly way. But you know I am messy. I am messy and quick and impulsive. And I heard two things this week that struck me to the core. And I just had this huge feeling that we needed to step in and do something. Don't you ever get those feelings? It's two families that I have wished for a while that we could do something to make their lives a little easier. And when I found those things, I just ran with it. So, I apologize and I promise to do better next time.

The first of the two recipients are Vee (The Sweet Life) and Max (the now defunct Dynamo Dad). They are two of the first bloggers I ever read. I remember Josh conversing with some male bloggers several years ago--Max, DI Dad, and Richard--and thinking, "who is this cool Vee who runs with the boys?"

And if you don't know Vee and Max, you should. They are a funny, creative Australian couple who has been dealt a double blow of infertility and cancer. Amid IVF cycles, they discovered that Max has stage-four LMS (a smooth muscle cancer). Chemo did not shrink the tumours and he is doing an experimental therapy right now. They have embryos on ice and they've put family building to the side for a moment.

So what is the need? Max's mother and brother live in France. The price of plane tickets between Europe and Australia means that they rarely get to see one another (the last time was four years ago when his mother came to Australia) and he has never been over there with Vee. In addition, they have never gotten to go together to Italy, which is where her family is from. She was lamenting last week that it's just one more thing they haven't been able to do. And it was her 40th birthday last week too.

So, here is the crazy part of the story. I told Vee I wanted to do this and she said no and I said we are and she said okay. And then she wrote me back a few hours later to tell me that her sister gave them what just may be the craziest coincidental birthday gift of all time--two plane tickets to Paris.

Seriously, how insane is that?

So we are now raising money for the hotels and transportation between France and Italy. We can't do anything to make Max better and we can't do anything for them family building-wise. But we can get them to both countries and give them this trip together.

We've guesstimated that they will need an additional $1000 to make this trip truly feasible, but I'd like to raise more than that if possible. I'm hoping for two things here:
  • not only fundraising, but if people have the means to donate points or miles towards travel (I'm not really sure how this works, but if anyone knows if this is feasible, please email me so we can set this up), it could help bring down the total cost.
  • Also, if people work in the travel industry and can donate a hotel room (in Italy and in France) or help make a plane ticket possible.
The rest of the money, we will earn the same way we did Cali's FET--online auctions, donations, and however else we can scrape together the means to make this trip a reality. I always call these things Virtual Stone Soup, but I have this visual image in my head of Vee and Max trotting along with these suitcases where we're all popping out of the seams. Every small bit helps and I think it is much more meaningful to have community come together to make something happen.

The second person is Mary. Mary has been a drinker at the Virtual Lushary since the day the bar opened. She has not been able to get a break in terms of family building. Back when the bar opened, she was having her fourth loss (this one after her first DE cycle). Currently, she is going on year nine of trying to have a child and she is experiencing her sixth loss after a donor embryo cycle.

She said at the last Virtual Lushary:
After 8 weeks the baby's heartbeat stopped and I had a D&C. Heartbreaking, but I was trying to find the positive (the donor embryo "took" but because of a fluke we lost it). But then the other shoe dropped. A week and a half after D&C I had sharp abdominal pains. I finally went to the doctor and it turns out I had an ectopic pg (now at over 10 weeks) and the tube ruptured and needed to be removed. Emergency surgery after 30 hours of internal bleeding. The doctor told me the next day I almost died. Turns out there is a 1 in 10,000 chance of having a uterine and an ectopic at the same time. We are always on the wrong side of statistics. I'm back to work this week teaching. Exhausted and sore. I won't let myself deal with (or feel) the sadness because I'm afraid if I start crying I won't stop. When will it end?
Mary doesn't have a blog, but we often email and I've given updates on her situation via the LFCA and people often leave her messages there. During an email this week, she mentioned the latest salt in the wound: the hospital bill that arrived from the tube removal. Her portion was only $1800 and while this amount is water in the bucket when you're already talking about paying tens of thousands towards family building, the point is that Mary needs someone to do something nice for her. To let her know that we care and while we can't--like Max and Vee--help with the actual family building, we can remove this bill from their plate.

I think of it as the blogosphere collectively passing her a tissue box and holding her while she has a long cry.

So we are also raising $1800 for her and making our collective goal for the two families to be $3000.

U.T.E.R.U.S. is unique because it's a lot like stone soup. While a carrot and a stalk of celery and a potato all held separately can't make a pot of vegetable soup, when you dump them together, you get something delicious. And while a single person may not have the means to give all the vegetables necessary for soup, a single carrot, stalk of celery, or potato is rarely missed.

The point to this type of giving is not to dig deep into your pockets when you have so many needs yourself. The point is to donate what you won't miss--the books you would have sold at a garage sale, ad space on your blog, points you weren't using. And the magic is that all of these things come together to fulfill someone else's need.

This is the permanent U.T.E.R.U.S. post for this project, so I'll repeat what I said for Cali's FET:
Someone made an argument a while back that we should fundraise for the major organizations and that money is better spent than fundraising to give a person a chance. They may be right in one sense, and we should keep fundraising for Resolve but I disagree. I think changing a single person's life can have larger, rippling effects that cross the world. That create change. So, if you don't agree that it's a good idea to help one stirrup queen at a time, you don't have to participate. If you do agree and want to help Calliope [well, now Vee, Max, and Mary], join in U.T.E.R.U.S. (Union To Expedite Relief Until Self-Fulfillment).
So, let's say you do want to get involved. Here's what you need to do:
  • Let me know if you know how people can pool together travel points or miles.
  • Let me know if you work with a hotel or airline and can help out with any of the travel arrangements or bringing down the overall price with a donation for Vee and Max.
  • Donate something for our online auction. It can literally be anything. We had people donate books, clothing, jewelry, felt fruit, toys, etc. last time. Get creative--donate a service (do you do web design? Work in a cool business where you can make something fantastic happen?) or ad space on your blog.
  1. Decide what you could donate to the sale.
  2. Take a photograph (if possible or applicable).
  3. Fill out this form. It is sent to us automatically. Please fill out the form multiple times if you are donating multiple items (in other words, do not list multiple items on one form).
  4. Email any questions to Jen at and Mel at
  • Helen and Calliope are going to list your item and sell it for you. We will have all of the sales under one account to make it easier to transfer the end sum in one transaction.
  • All money earned will go to the designated people (in this case, Vee, Max, and Mary), though you will use the shipping fees you requested to ship the item. The cost to you is simply the donated item.
  • Another option is to hold your own garage sale at home (come on, those early fall months are perfect for a garage sale) and donate the proceeds or a portion of the amount collected at the sale to U.T.E.R.U.S. There is now a donation button below.
  • We will also be adding an etsy shop soon run by Io. More details to come.
  • We will talk the hell out of this to get word out (grab the code for the icon over here).
  • There will be list of all the auctions in one space so people can easily access them.
  • We will give you constant updates so you know how much we've raised. The goal is to have this completely finished within a month or so.
  • The goal for this particular convening of U.T.E.R.U.S. is $3000.
Below is a list of all of the items and services currently donated to help Vee, Max, and Mary. If you listed your donation as anonymous on the form, this public thank you will not be linked to your blog.
  1. Conceive Magazine (donated money directly to U.T.E.R.U.S.)
  2. Tales from my Dusty Ovaries (donated books)
  3. Out on Good Behaviour (royal blue/purple handknit scarf)
  4. Who Shot My Stork? (Juno Hamburger Phone)--honest to blog!
  5. V (direct deposit to the U.T.E.R.U.S. fund)
  6. Bee in the Bonnet (photograph)
  7. Insert Metaphor (iPod shuffle)
  8. Mrs Spock (Maya wrap)
  9. Chunky Photojournalist Barbie (direct deposit to the U.T.E.R.U.S. fund)
  10. Angry Canadian Nurse (direct deposit to the U.T.E.R.U.S. fund and a baby blanket)
  11. Kwynne (a "make your own" felt pizza set)
  12. Creating Motherhood (direct deposit to the U.T.E.R.U.S. fund)
  13. Loving Thee... (direct deposit to the U.T.E.R.U.S. fund)
  14. Anonymous for Now (direct deposit to the U.T.E.R.U.S. fund)
  15. Kicking You From the Inside (NASA 50th anniversary hat)
  16. This is My Truth, Tell My Yours (framed photograph of the Three Sisters in Katoomba, New South Wales)
  17. It's Not the End of the World (Marley and Me by John Grogan and a Motorola Motorazr)
  18. Your donation!

If you would like to donate directly to U.T.E.R.U.S. or if you are donating money you collected at your own garage sale, please use the secure button below and follow the paypal directions:

Please come together as a community and help with these two projects. know how I'm fond of quoting the Beatles: "and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Let's make some that didn't come out sounding quite right, I think y'all know what I mean.

Thank you, from Melissa, Helen, Jen, Cali, and Io and all of the fine people at U.T.E.R.U.S.



Rachel said...

If anyone knows how to donate miles, I have some to donate. I don't fly often enough to be able to redeem anything with them. It's not many, but combined with others it may help.

MrsSpock said...

I think those are both excellent ideas! Hey, look what our combines efforts did before- Calliope is now carrying a little Snork...

I have lots of "used to be skinny but now I'm fat" wardrobe that needs purging...

Jen said...

ok, I have been lurking & reading for a month or so...AND this story brought me out..

What a great idea and I think helping a person individually is far better than donating to a research org that no one will really ever see a result from individually. I may be wrong for thinking that but that's how I feel.

I will see if there is anything I can donate to the auction. If I don't I will bid or donate money, period.

God Bless you all for having such a big heart.

Kristin said...

I'm definitely going to donate something. I just have to figure out what.

Abc said...

I can probably round up some things to donate... what's the deadline?

Abc said...

Oh yeah, in case you want, here's my email -

I'll repost on as well. I have a couple of readers that might be able to help!

Io said...

I am so excited that UTERUS is up and running again! I will be mining my house tonight for ebay items!

Anonymous said...

Adding a post to my blog to call awareness to my friends and I will email the forms to you...I have a ton of stuff to purge. I wish I had known about this before, I held a garage sale before we moved and I could have donated the proceeds.


Anonymous said...

cant find your email ~ but i have a bookmark for the auction dealio...

email me and i will email you a photo and all for the site :)


sara said...

Thanks for helping bring this info to us :-)

Dora said...

Definitely have some ebay items. Perfect choices, Mel! I love how your mind works.

MsPrufrock said...

I'm in for the eBay thing again. I'll start hunting now.

Also, the idea of an Etsy shop? LOVE. I've been having a lot of bad days recently and Etsy has been my saviour. I have a feeling my donations there could accumulate quite quickly.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I would like to donate a felt pizza (image here: I am one of the grrls from the original felt food contribution.

DI_Dad said...

Mel - Great idea. I am slowly getting back into my DI blogging and one thing lead to another and found myself here. I will definitely participate. I expect to think of an item to auction in the next few days. Thanks, Eric

Dora said...

Re Etsy, anything handmade OR vintage can be sold on Etsy. I have some handmade jewelry (not made by me), and I know it would sell for more money on Etsy than Ebay.

Searching for Serenity said...

I would love to contribute some little baby burp rags that I sew for everyone else except me... I notice there are similar styles on etsy so I certainly don't want to get in trouble. There isn't a pattern for them, I came up with them myself and I won't be selling them for a profit, so it shouldn't be an issue, should it?


Anonymous said...

I have a li.a so.phia funraiser up on my blog. I'll donate every cent of what I make from the fundraiser, so tell your friends and go shopping!

Abc said...

Hey - just checking for updates. When is the auction?