Friday, February 25, 2011

reflections on one year

One year ago this morning, I was in the passenger seat of our car, headed to the hospital for my laparoscopy.

I was hopeful - hopeful that the surgery would go well, hopeful that it would bring with it a quick and easy recovery, and hopeful that it would eventually lead way to a successful pregnancy.

For the most part, those hopes came true.

But for the one that didn't, I have to wonder if things were meant to be the way they are now. If things had happened according to my hopes, I wouldn't be as involved with RESOLVE as I am now. I wouldn't be in graduate school. I wouldn't have been able to quit a job that made me so unhappy.

We wouldn't be adopting.

I joked this week in my exhausted and delirious state that, "Infertility builds character." Only it wasn't a joke. It's true. The past year - the surgery, the failing, the break, and the decision - all of those things built character. They put us on the right path. Even though it still hurts, and the wound is still so fresh, I know that saying good-bye to my fertility will help me forward. I have a daily reminder of it: the pain. While one year brought us this far in our journey to have a baby, it hasn't taken me far on the journey to regain my health.

That's not what I'm going to think about today.

Instead, I'm going to think about the hope I felt on that cool, February morning, and that same hope I'll feel walking out the door this morning. It's the hope that we are making the right decision. It's the hope that we will someday get what we've worked so hard for. It's the hope that our baby is out there somewhere, and that we are doing everything in our power to bring him or her home to us.

Friday, February 18, 2011

getting my ducks in a row

My doctor's office finally called back this morning with the genius response of the day:

"Well, you should go off of the pill if it's causing you pain."

(Or something to that affect. Actually, I think the nurse said he felt "strongly" that I should go off of it.)

Hold up. Will everyone please do me a favor and rewind your brain to the conversation I had with this same doctor less than a month ago. The one where he told me this was my only option to get rid of the cysts?

No. Good-bye. I'm done.

This is RE #2, out the door.

I know what some of you non-IFers are thinking: you are that crazy bitch who switches doctors nonstop.

Actually, that's not true. I've seen the same GP since I was 12. 12! The guy has known me since middle school, through my angst-filled teen years, through college, and my husband is now a patient at the same practice. So no, I'm not a doctor user/abuser.

Unfortunately, infertility has taught me that no one will be your advocate in this journey. No one but yourself.


I made an appointment with an OB-GYN who has experience with infertility and dealing with endo and chronic cysts. This will be OB-GYN #4 since our journey started, and I'm hoping this time is a charm. If not, it's on to the next one.

Because I'm not going to stop fighting until I get what I deserve.

**Oh, and yesterday I started bleeding. On CD 24. I fucking hate my body right now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

you're just like a pill

If Serene Branson is on an estrogen-based birth control, she needs to go off of it.

Now.

By now, most of you have seen the clip. The young, attractive, seemingly healthy reporter who scared America with her incoherent report after Sunday night's Grammy awards.

Watching this on the Internet the following day, my heart skipped a beat. Thankfully, it was announced today that she suffered from a complex migraine. While not bleeding in the brain, it's just as scary. I know. I know exactly how Serene Branson felt at that moment. I know because I lived through it - suffering through a complex migraine, very similar to a TIA, while sitting at work on my college campus nearly 5 years ago.

Do you know what it's like to suddenly lose function of your brain?

I remember the moment it happened. Someone came up to the desk and asked for the time. I stared at the clock on the wall and THOUGHT the time.

But I couldn't say it.

I tried to spit it out. I'm not exactly sure what I said at that moment. I only know it was incoherent based on the woman's face and my co-worker's fast reaction to step in and give her the actual time: just before 1 pm.

From the top of my head to the tips of my fingers went numb. My hearing was muffled. And surprisingly, I didn't panic. Much like Serene, I did not go to the hospital right away. I took two aspirin, drove myself back to my apartment, and called my mom (who, by the way, was panicking). I then called a friend, who also panicked and who kindly drove me to the hospital and stayed with me the rest of the night - keeping Joey and my family updated, bringing me food, and driving me home when all of the poking and prodding was finished.

In the days after, when I learned that I would likely suffer more "attacks" if I stayed on my birth control, I realized how lucky I was. Sure, I wasn't 100% for a while. My speech took about two weeks to fully recover. But I didn't die. I didn't need therapy. Just six months of neurology appointments and some anti-seizure medication, and I was on my way to live the rest of my life. A girl I graduated from high school with was not so lucky. Her estrogen-based birth control caused her to suffer a massive stroke.

I have no idea if Serene Branson is on birth control or not. But what I do know is this: if she is on it, she needs to seriously reconsider that choice.

Life isn't worth living that way.

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Yesterday marked 23 days of progesterone-based birth control.

It began like any other day, until the abdominal pain started. On my left side, of course. I didn't think of it until last night. The pain intensified and spread - or "shot" - downward to my leg. It continued through the night and into today.

After a little bit of hemming and hawing, I called and left a message with the RE nurse. She hasn't called back. Surprise.

I have no hesitation about going to the hospital if it worsens. I just wish I didn't have to. I am tired of doctors and hospitals. I am tired of my body aching and failing. I am just tired. Take. the. damn. ovary. out. already.

There, I said it.

Now if only someone would listen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

what we didn't love

I have issues.

Not me, personally (though I bet my husband would argue that!). I have issues with some things that were said at the adoption seminar we attended last night.

A third-party group, meaning that a particular agency was not "hosting" the class, put on the event. There were representatives there from foster care and private adoption - including the agent who we've chosen to do our home study - and families who could speak first-hand about their experiences with adoption.

Most of it was informative. We particularly enjoyed hearing from the adoptive parents and from our home study agent, who not only knows her stuff but who is incredibly down to earth. Joey and I both walked out of there with a better understanding of the process and more at ease knowing she would be the person asking us some of the most intimate questions about our lives. But we also walked out of there a little disturbed about some of the things said by the foster care representatives.

Foster care is something that Joey and I simply are not interested in now. It's not something that we're capable of doing with both of us working full-time jobs out of the house. I admire people who choose foster care and who are called to that service. But like other forms of building a family - IVF, adoption, etc. - it's not for all people.

Well, you would have thought these people were next in line for sainthood. At least that's how they came across. One had a dozen children, but she could barely remember all of their names. She did, however, remember their races and their illnesses, which she claimed were "not a big deal" and "didn't matter." But, let's face it: it DOES matter if that is how you identify them. It made me uncomfortable to hear her speak about them that way.

When it came time for our home study agent to speak about private adoption, they constantly interrupted her. It was like a battle of epic proportions as the poor woman tried desperately to move on and the foster care reps were busy trying to continue arguing their points/beliefs. What was initially an uncomfortable situation made me just want to bolt toward the door after the seminar was over, which is exactly what we did - as the foster care reps yelled after us, "Come next door and meet our children!" Really? First of all, as Joey pointed out, why would you invite a room full of people who find it sometimes painful to be around children because of their fertility issues to go hang out with your kids? Secondly, I'm sorry, but they are KIDS. Please don't exploit them as anomalies. I've seen plenty of children. Foster kids or former foster kids are not some kind of special exhibit to be oohed and ahhed at. I'm sure they are adorable, but it came across as though they were somehow different than other children. THEY AREN'T. If one of them came up and smacked me in the forehead, I wouldn't know if he or she was a former foster, was adopted, or was fucking born on the planet Mars.

Despite the awkwardness, all of this taught us something. Last night confirmed for Joey and I, in a sense, some of what we do and don't want to do:

- we want our child to know that he or she is adopted, BUT not be constantly reminded of it to the point where he or she perceives themselves as different
- we want to do this because we want to be parents, NOT because we want some medal of honor or extra "points" with God for doing something that - frankly - is selfish (yes, I'm admitting that we are doing this for selfish reasons... not to "save" a child)
- we want to respect the birth parents AND those who chose international adoption... at several point, there were negative "tones" used to refer to the birth parents by some folks, while others made a point to declare that there are "plenty of children here to 'rescue'" rather than adopting internationally

(And, honestly, what is with the words, "save" and "rescue"? This mentality is awfully popular, and I don't get it. It's not appropriate.)

I truly believe that most people want to pursue adoption or foster care for the right reasons - we want a chance to parent a child. We have a ton of love to give, and we want to share that love with someone else. I know that these people were not representative of every person who works in foster care, nor does what was said last night mean they aren't 1) great people and 2) great parents. I have no idea because I don't live in their homes. But I do wish people would think about what they are saying before they speak. The result is that certain words and phrases come across as insensitive and close-minded, at least in my opinion.

I know that foster care is and can be a wonderful experience. But for the people sitting in that room who have no idea what a wonderful option foster care can be, I feel sad that they left with the impression made last night.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

it's not so different

I have fears. A lot of them.

I have fears that I'll be a bad mom. Or I won't be ready in time for my baby to come home. I have fears that someone is going to tell us we can't adopt or we would make horrible parents. I constantly have to fend off the "what ifs." It's why we are working on the nursery six months before we are submitting the paperwork. Because it's the only thing that's keeping me sane with this wait. And sometimes, when I think, "Six months is a long time," it hits me. No it's not. We need physicals done. We still have a lot of money to save. We have to buy fire extinguishers. We need to get living wills made. We need to get the crack in the garage floor sealed, and we need to gather letters of recommendation.

With this, I'm starting to realize that waiting to adopt a baby is not much different than pregnancy - always wondering when/if something will happen. Will the car break down this month, setting us back another month from saving money? Will the roof of our house cave in, then we'll have to move into an apartment, and SURELY no one will think we are fit parents then. And even more stupid/obscure/self conscious things, like:

I want to do an adoption raffle. Will people even want to donate items? Will people just think I'm being greedy by asking for money?

Will people come to my baby shower and take it seriously when I'm not pregnant, and when there is no guarantee when we get to take our baby home?

Will I get awkward stares at the store when I'm registering for baby items? Will people wonder if I'm crazy/mad/insane for registering with no obvious bump to show?

They are never ending. They circle my mind at night repeatedly until I'm so exhausted, my eyes force themselves to close. And they are not just "before" fears. They are after, too. What if my baby doesn't bond with me? Or with Joey? What if he or she grows up and resents me because I don't look like him/her - we don't have the same hair or skin color or eye color or facial features? What if people say stupid things? Will I get angry? Will I get upset? How will I react the first time my child is bullied on the playground?

What if, all along, infertility was just God's way of telling me that I'm not supposed to be a mom?

Our fears are different at the surface, but they come from the same place. Because we are all the same. Scarred deeply from where we've been. And scared shitless of where we are headed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

all about the nursery

Yesterday was a big day in our house.

We made our first nursery purchase.

I'm so excited, and I can't wait for it to arrive. It's a wall decal from Etsy I've been eying forever. Here is the link, though we are getting it with yellow flowers - not pink - to keep things gender neutral:

Nursery Decal

What do you think?

We also ordered a swatch of fabric (seen in this previous post) to make sure it looks good with the paint color in the room.

I need suggestions on how to turn a quote that we stumbled across on Friday into something to go over the crib - not another decal, though. We saw it on a picture frame, but the frame's colors don't match the gray and yellow theme we are going for. Any thoughts? We'd like to make it into a print with a design or border, but I'm not sure how to go about doing this. I've also thought about just getting a custom frame made or even a mirror. It's a wonderful quote. I think it speaks to all of us on this journey.

We loved you before we knew you, even when there was just the hope of you - we loved you.

It will be August before we know it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

400 down, ? to go

This is my 400th post.

400 "pages" of word vomit, and I still cannot write, "I'm a mom!"

Maybe by post 1,000. . .

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There's still one positive possibility lingering in the air, but another one has indeed become reality and therefore I can finally share it with you:

I'm in a master's degree program for Library and Information Studies. While I work in a private university, I don't work within a library. This isn't a big deal, as I wasn't searching for only library jobs last fall when I landed this position. But it is a big deal when it comes time to graduate next spring. In order to be hired in any kind of library, information-centric, or research setting, I will most likely (and by that, I mean 90% likely) need experience in a library setting in order to get a job that's related to my degree.

So, as if 40 hours a week at work and three grad-level courses weren't enough, I decided to seek out this experience. I sent an e-mail to a local organization, the one with the area's best library services, and asked them if they had volunteer opportunities available. They not only wanted me on come on board as a volunteer, but several of the departments also asked if I would be interested in part-time work. Because of the hours I'm putting in for both work and school, I'm sticking with volunteer work for now, but I'm honored that they thought of me for other positions.

I know, it's probably not the exciting news everyone was hoping for; like, "A stork dropped a baby on my doorstep last night!" But it's a big deal for me, and this opportunity will look fantastic on my resume.

Finally . . . something to cheer about. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

it's february?

We are going to our first adoption class this month.

I'm a bit nervous; the person speaking at this class is the person who will be performing our home study later this year. While I've felt comfortable speaking with her over the phone and communicating via e-mail, I am nervous about Joey and I making a good first in-person impression. After all, this person gets the largest say in whether we should or should not be parents.

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My head hurts. This is the first migraine I've had on the pill. I'll be tracking my migraines to make sure they don't get out of control. If they start to become more frequent, I will contact my doctor.

Despite my mood swings, I feel like I need to give this pill time to work. How much time is enough, though? A month? Two? I will say that I'm thankful for no breakthrough bleeding. Yet.

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I thought a lot about everyone's response to my post about support. It was interesting to read the different interpretations about that post. But I guess what I was trying to get to is that silence does hurt. At least for me. I know that some people feel differently, but it hurts that some people who were there are the beginning aren't there any longer or who are there a whole lot less. Blog comments didn't spawn that post, to be honest. Because most of the relationships I'm struggling with are the ones that didn't start here. It's everything else. The e-mails or other personal communications I've developed with some of you are no longer.

I guess that's what happens when you're the last infertile standing. I can't expect people to stand here and hold my hand when they are 10 or 10,000 miles down the road. I need to get over being so damn sensitive about it. Emotions are sort of my weak points these days.

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We have so many things that need to go to Goodwill that currently live in the nursery room. Does someone want to come over and help us move all of it? :)

Also, we found our dream nursery fabric. How this will evolve into a bedding set, I'm not quite sure. But we have some time to figure it out.

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There is a, um, "positive possibility" in the air right now. That's pretty much all I can say about it at this point. (And no, it has nothing to do with pregnancy.) But if anyone wants to send vibes so that this becomes a positive reality, we won't turn that down.