Tuesday, May 10, 2011

things aren't always black and white

When I had my laparoscopy a little over a year ago, I had irrational fears about what the doctor might find once he cut me open. An alien growing inside of my uterus. A testicle instead of an ovary. A giant block of cheese wedged somewhere in my abdomen (because Joey teases me incessantly about eating too much cheese). I had more realistic hopes. Like the doctor finding a definitive reason why we couldn't get pregnant.

Instead, I ended up with no clear answers and even more questions when the next two IUIs turned out to be massive failures.

It's strange, but I envy people who can say with confidence why they can't get pregnant. Their tubes are blocked. They have no sperm. They have premature ovarian failure. Their uterus can't support a pregnancy. These are easy things to explain. Instead, when I am posed the question of, "Why are you infertile?" my answer is always a huff of laughter and, "Where do I begin?"

And as if there weren't enough questions already swimming around my worrisome little brain, this latest doctor's appointment only added fuel to the uncertainty. For so long, I thought it was difficult - practically impossible - for my ovaries to work properly. Yet, here they are, working right in the one situation where they absolutely shouldn't.

Not only was my body in disarray, but so was my mind.

What if this entire time it was actually possible for me to be pregnant? What if the chance was there all along, but the methods were wrong? What if it was simply a matter of some weird hormone combination that would whip my reproductive system into shape?

This experience brings questions to the surface that I didn't want to think about. Questions that I thought I'd dealt with and moved past. I don't WANT to be pregnant. So why was I thinking about it on Friday? Thinking about it made me feel wrong. Guilty. I know in the depths of my heart that pursuing adoption is the right choice for us, and I still second guessed myself.

But maybe it's not so black and white. Maybe it's not so cut and dry. Maybe it's not just "adoption and nothing else" for us. I know for certain that I don't want to do IVF. But what if that means, down the road, we try a few more IUIs. What is so wrong with having two children in our lives, just arriving to us in different ways? What is so wrong with adopting a baby and then getting pregnant with a sibling?

I feel like I'm finally coming to terms with this idea of building a family in various ways. That I don't need to have children one way or another way. That just because I don't want to get pregnant now, doesn't mean that I won't want to try in another few years. I need to focus on the moment, rather than what was or was not right or possible last year and what may or may not be right or possible in the years to come.

I don't know for certain that I can even get pregnant. We may never know. But right now I know what I want: I want a child, and I want that child through adoption. I don't have the strength in me at the moment to try and get pregnant. When it comes to my reproductive system, my physical health is in no shape to carry a child for nine months. What I want right now is to find the baby who is out there waiting for us to bring him/her home. No more hanging onto dreams of a miracle conception or a healthy pregnancy.

At least not right now. Not in this moment.


Jen Has A Pen said...

Each post you right is so spot on. I "think" I know the reasons behind my inability to get pregnant (not ovulating, pituitary tumor, PCOS), so I always feel sorry for those women who have undetermined issues. At least when you have a concrete problem, you can focus on a game plan. Not knowing would make this already confusing and difficult time seem even more impossible.

We are at the beginning stages of exploring our options with ART. Like you, we aren't planning to undergo an IVF. For the time being, I imagine I'll do a round or two of IUI and then move my energy and focus towards adoption (barring the IUI and/or ovulation inducing meds don't work). So obviously, you are farther along in the process than I am, but I always wonder how I would turn off the need/want/desire to be pregnant.

I hope your gray turns black or white very soon.

Serendipitie said...

xoxo here's to hoping adoption goes smoothly and quickly for you. I know the feeling of being over it, as far as putting your body through hell and back.

serenity said...

What I'm finding (and this is through the lens of my own experience of course) is that you can be SURE that putting treatments aside is the right choice.

But that decision still hurts and you'll always wonder.

For me? I will always wonder "what if." What if we didn't walk away from treatments? What if we decided to go down a different path?

Doesn't mean you're any less decided on the path, it's just acknowledging that there are nuances to every decision.


Krista said...

There is absolutely no reason why you can't still pursue a pregnancy (when you are ready,) just because you've chosen to adopt. Just because you are opening the door to adoption does not in any way shape or form mean that you are closing the door to a pregnancy forever.
I know exactly how you feel about wanting a reason WHY it isn't happening...I always tell my husband...I just wish they'd find something! He thinks I'm crazy, but at least there would be something to treat!

Jessica said...

I 100% agree!

Rebecca said...

I find myself clinging to every "possibility" as to why we're infertile in the desperate hope that there IS a reason. Was it a blocked tube early on? Is it a suspect FSH level? Was it a fibroid? Unfortunately there is no definitive answer and it makes me nuts. I, too, find myself envying people who at least know why it isn't working. Because it is the uncertainty that leaves you wondering if this is the right choice or that is the right one or maybe we should stop or maybe we should keep going.

Regardless, adoption is right for you now. If, in the future, you want to pursue treatment again, there is no reason in the world that you can't. Plenty of families are built that way and that doesn't make each child any less special to you.

At the same time, if you decide never to do another treatment, that is absolutely ok.

someday-soon said...

Taking one step at a time is hard...but it's a great idea. You're right, you don't have to have the final answers today and time can change our minds and hearts to what options we're open to. I'm wishing you tons of GL on building your family however it works for you!

Rebecca said...

My parents adopted my older brother then they had me their only biological child. It didn't change the family dynamic knowing that my brother wasn't my bio brother, we still fought just like any other siblings! lol

Ashley said...

My best friend is adopted, then her parents had a biological child, then adopted another. And they are some of the closest siblings I know. :) You'll be a family no matter what.

missohkay said...

This is exactly where I am in my journey. I am so glad that I'm pursuing adoption. I want to be an adoptive parent. Period. Yet I still have that nagging hope that someday a biological baby might be in the cards for us. Beautiful post - thank you for voicing complex thoughts so well (as always).

amiracle4us said...

I think leaving doors open for the future is important. Just like anything else in life, things change as we change. I don't think you can ignore the maternal desire to conceive a child no matter how comfortable and wanting you are of adoption. It is okay. It is normal and doesn't change the fact you will love your child, no matter how they find you, the same.

It Is What It Is said...

I think that if you have a chance at pregnancy and you are willing to take it while simultaneously pursuing adoption, you certainly can and should.

Things are fluid when one wants to do everything within her power to have a child. You're allowed to change your mind, increase your odds, switchback, until you reach where you are trying to go.

I don't "want" to be pregnant (again) either and stopped all ART almost two years ago and really gave up 'trying' in any meaningful way until just a couple of months ago when I felt like I wanted to do everything I could, even if that meant continuing on our adoption path AND throwing caution to the wind. I just want to have another child and need to continue to work toward that. I never get my hopes up and know the odds are infinitesimal, but they are not 0.

Marianne said...

Great post - and I think building your family several different ways is wonderful!

S.I.F. said...

I think I would be confused if you DIDN'T have the feelings and questions popping up from time to time. It's only natural, and you're right - it's just not all that black and white. I just keep hoping that one day we'll all be able to look back on all of this and have some peace and understanding... I just keep hoping for the day I can look back and think "NOW I get it!"

I'm hoping for that day for you too friend....

To A T said...

I dont' think there is any one right or wrong way to build your family. You do what is best for you! Whether that's all adopted children or some biological, what matters is that they are yours ;-) It's hard when the rest of the world wants things so cut and dry.

((HUGS)) sweetie!

erika said...

Your title is perfectly saying it. It's totally normal to feel the way you feel. You made a decision for now, but it is not something you may not change later. Your life may bring lot's of changes to influence your feelings and your situation. I am praying for lot's of positives coming your way to shape a beautiful, bright future for you and your family.

Logical Libby said...

You are not alone. Most infertility is unexplained. And it's a pain in the ass and it messes with your brain.

Try to stay sane.

AL said...

This post is wonderful and explains so many of the complex thoughts and feelings of trying to plan a family when facing IF.

You and Joey made the right decision for your family right now and as time goes on, a different direction might be the right one for your family later.

Astrid said...

I think it's totally normal to want to pick an "official" route and embrace that and slough off any previous goals that it turnes out you can't control the outcome of. I think I'm like you in that I've always thought if you work hard enough at something you can get it. And if you can't get it, or if there's some chance that you won't be able to for reasons beyond your control, pick another path. Like the only things worth going after are the things you know you can achieve with enough blood sweat and tears. Heck I did that with my entire career. I ditched the one I had some risk of failing at even though it was probably the better fit for me and went for the safer bet, even though I don't like it.

While I totally get the draw to "pick a new path and identify with that" I think it's healthier to reach the conclusion that you have. That it's not always better to impose tunnel vision upon yourself even though it feels more productive and less scary. Or to give up on something because you can't control it.

I am really in awe of your wisdom and resolve. And I know you will get there. One way or another (or several ways at once!)

marriage20 said...

Beautiful post, Katie! I'm sorry you're going through this, but, as always, your perspective rings true with me. I left you an award over at my blog at http://marriage20.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/thanks-and-welcome/. Thank you for being an inspiration! xo

aliciamarie911 said...

I often wrack my brain as to why I have not been able to give my husband a child. I have many things (after a lot of research on my part) that I THINK might be wrong with me, but no one has the answers yet. I may not ever know them. I'm glad that I am not the only one that feels this way. I want to pursue adoption, but I'm so afraid that I'll end up hurt and with empty arms. For me, I feel that TTC (even though we're obviously having NO luck) is better for myself (even though I worry myself relentlessly).

I don't see anything wrong with you wanting a family through different avenues. It's normal. I think the longing to be a mom is engrained in us, and even when we try to not think about it...it'll always be in the back of our minds.

I pray that you get your little bundle of joy soon! I'm your newest follower!


foxy said...

I can totally identify with wanting things to be black and white. Unfortunately I am not the more organized person, and my life is not run according to a plan, but I do feel better when expectations are crystal clear. For me one of the hardest, and yet most liberating parts of this journey was letting go of the "how" we build our family, and refocusing on the outcome of "having" a family.

I also have to chime in and say that one of the things I am strangely grateful for is the fact that our infertility is so black and white. My husband simply does not produce sperm. While it is a pretty shitty diagnosis, I've always appreciated that it fit into a nice little box of a diagnosis. I don't say this to cause you envy, but to agree with you that your envy is justifiable. Ironically, it is not a diagnosis that I share openly when people ask - more often than not they just get a vague convoluted answer.

Regardless of how you get there, I know that you are going to be a wonderful mother someday. I too want you to find the baby that is waiting to come into your home.

Nixy said...

I'm so with you on wanting to know what the heck is wrong. If you knew what was wrong, a plan could be formulated. I'm so sorry that you are still going through this crap. It's so unfair.

I hope hope hope that the adoption process goes smoothly for you.

Johnpaul said...

let me know entire time for getting me to be pregnent, what the changes was there all alonggetting pregnant with pcos