Wednesday, May 30, 2012

crash and burn

I'm suffering from burn out.

From work. Blogging. Adoption. Life. I've been saving my vacation for when we are finally matched/placed, but I've decided to stop doing that since it doesn't appear we'll even be matched before my PTO expires in October. I need time away. I need time where I sit around and do nothing, or go - take off and enjoy life.

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Last night I sat on the nursery floor and thought back to when we decorated it. We were so positive and hopeful. I thought that sitting there would somehow make me more positive and hopeful. Instead, I felt nothing. Emptiness.

I want that hope and that positivity to come back, but I worry it's gone. For good.

Friday, May 25, 2012

why i left twitter

I made the decision earlier this week that this would be my last week on Twitter. As of this morning, my account no longer exists.

A number of people asked me why I chose to delete my account. Many assumed that something triggered it. To set the record straight, no one made me angry. No one upset me. No one tweeted nasty things about me or to me.

It's just time to move forward.

I started tweeting through a separate blog account when 1) I felt that my infertility-related tweets were taking over too much of my personal Twitter account, and 2) When many people stopped blogging and turned to Twitter to connect with one another for support. For years, it was a source of comfort to me. If I was having a bad day or if another treatment had failed, I knew I could log into my account and get the support I need or read stories from those going through similar trials.

Lately, my feelings have changed. When we started the adoption process, I felt "on the outs," so to speak. I didn't feel like I had much in common anymore with those who were still going through medical treatments. And by the time we got our home study approval (October) and signed with our first agency (November), I felt almost completely isolated. Almost everyone was pregnant or had their babies. Today, most of the posts on my feed are about breastfeeding and planning first, and even second, birthday parties.

I think Alex said it best in her post: there's nothing wrong with this. I simply can't relate. I have nothing to bring to the table. I have nothing to bring to the conversation. And sadly, there are a number of people whose hands I held virtually through their journey who aren't/haven't been around to hold mine. Twitter only serves as a bitter reminder of this for me, and I don't want to be bitter. I want to be happy. I want to be able to live my life free of feeling this way. I don't want to be that girl.

Which leads me to my only solution: saying good-bye to Twitter. I am and will be forever grateful to Twitter for introducing me to some amazing women who I will have lasting connections with. I am grateful for the support it did provide me at one time. But I also know that those who wish to stay updated on my journey will do so - with or without my tweets - and it's those people I thank the most. Thank you for sticking with me through thick and thin. I hope that you will stay until the end.

Whatever that end entails.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

number four

Tomorrow we celebrate four years.

Four years of marriage. Four years of trying to become parents.

But I'm not thinking about the infertility aspect of it this year.

This year, I'm thinking about how lucky I am. How despite the events of the last four years, we are still going strong. It hasn't been easy, and there have been plenty of obstacles to try and throw us off course. But here we are.

video

Happy anniversary, Joey. Here's to the future - whatever it holds.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

save your wishes

I have a problem with Mother's Day.

And it has nothing (well, not NOTHING, but not everything) to do with infertility.

This year, I noticed more customer service people wishing women a Happy Mother's Day. This is sweet and all, for those women who are actually mothers. But let's think about this for a moment. Over the years, we have improved our sensitivity when it comes to sending people blanket holiday wishes. The prime example of this, of course, is Christmas. One day, we all woke up and realized that, hey . . . there are many people who don't celebrate Christmas. You wouldn't wish your Jewish friend a Merry Christmas, would you?

No, you wouldn't. So why would you wish a woman a Happy Mother's Day when you have absolutely no idea whether she is a mother? It's presumptuous. It's obnoxious. And frankly, it's downright rude. It's not displaying sensitivity at all.

This isn't just about being infertile. Of course, I notice it because of my infertility. It's about the fact that Mother's Day can be a difficult day for many people. Think about the people who have lost their mothers - recently or not so recently. This holiday is a reminder for those people that they can't pick up the phone and call their mom to wish them a happy day. They can't pick up their mom and take her out to lunch, or send her flowers and gifts of appreciation

Think about the women who have lost children, whether it's a loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, accident, health issue, or some other tragic event. Imagine being wished a Happy Mother's Day when your child has just lost a battle with cancer. Or when your baby's heart has just stopped beating. Maybe these women want holiday wishes; maybe they don't. No one knows, but keep in mind that it may not be easy for them to have a reminder of what they've lost.

Think about the mothers who've placed their babies for adoption. Think about what it might be like for these women to hear those words. Like the women who've lost children, we don't know whether wishing them a Happy Mother's Day is something that's helpful or hurtful. But you wouldn't say it without knowing for sure, would you? You wouldn't just assume.

And yes, think about the women who are infertile. The women who don't, and may never, have a reason to celebrate some random Sunday in May. As if we need another reminder that we're incapable of being mothers. As if we need some other reason to feel alienated as women. Wishing us a Happy Mother's Day does nothing but remind us of the empty spot in our heart that may never be filled.

My problem with Mother's Day is that we simply assume all women celebrate it. Because we assume everyone is a mother to a living child or everyone has a living mother. Because we, as a society, are so mom-centric that we can't look past these points to realize that maybe this holiday isn't a holiday for some.

Instead, it's a nightmare.

Monday, May 14, 2012

peace

This is it. This is what this feels like.

Resolve. Resolution.

I always thought I would resolve my infertility by having a baby. It took the last week, a blog post and a half, and a comment from Mel to realize that resolve doesn't necessarily mean that you have to become a parent or determine to live child free to resolve your infertility.

No. You can do it while you're still IN it.

At first, I thought the turmoil I felt last week was a desire to quit. But honestly, it was exactly the opposite. It was the courage to admit that I'll be okay if I never become a mom. The world won't stop turning. The sun will keep rising. And I will still have so many wonderful things in life to enjoy. It was the courage to admit that, regardless of how things end up, my life won't be empty. It was the courage to admit that I will know when it's time to stop fighting. Just like I knew when it was time to stop treatment, I'll know when it's time to pack away the dream of becoming a parent. And there's nothing shameful about making that choice.

I'll admit that part of this feeling is a little loss of faith. After four years, it's hard to stay sunshine-y about the fact that "this will all work out." It slowly evolved into "this may work out." Or, it may not. I know that now. It was easy to think about all of the wonderful ways that this journey could end - all of the ways that include a baby in my arms. It's much, much harder to look at how this could end with me empty handed.

But I understand now, more than I ever did before, that it wouldn't be empty handed. My life is still full, and it will continue to be.

I've heard from a lot of people this last week about my peace with living child free, should this not work or should we decide at some point to stop pursuing parenthood. Some called it brave. Some called it giving up. For four years, we have worked very hard at becoming parents. And no, four years isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things. But four years is a long time when you look at what the last four years have held for us. It's been our entire marriage. It's been four years of slicing, dicing, money, heartache, and struggle. It's been a hell of a ride. One I sincerely hope ends with a child, but one that I know now I will survive, regardless.

This weekend I looked Joey in the eye, and I said to him, "We are going to have an amazing life together, no matter what happens." And I meant it.

That is resolve.

That is peace.

Friday, May 11, 2012

whirlwind week

I felt a sense of relief after writing my last post. As if the idea of living child free was the giant elephant in the room that I needed to set free. As sad as it is, it also feels good to be able to say, "I can do this." If faced with the situation, I could handle it. Joey has always been able to handle it; it was me who couldn't come to terms with it. Now I have.

Of course, I didn't expect that just three days later we would receive an email about a potential situation here in Florida. For whatever reason, reading about the scenario sent me into a full emotional breakdown. We initially declined to show our profile. (Please note that I do understand everyone's curiosity as to why we would turn down any situation. However, don't wish to share the exact reasons why this is, as these choices are very difficult and personal to Joey and I.) However, the paralegal for our attorney's office called me and we went over the case. She is meeting with the expectant mother today and will be getting more information both about her and the situation. Depending on the answers she receives, we may show our profile. We won't know more until next week, and I'm doing my best to push it aside.

Luckily, there's no shortage of things to do. After taking over a year off from freelancing, I'm starting on a new project this weekend. This is great not only to occupy my free time, but also to help with our adoption fund. (Which reminds me: we just added a beautiful new donation to our Etsy shop. Please check out this gorgeous handmade baby sweater, donated by Jamie at Prairie Girl Knits.)

So after a week of being here, there, and everywhere, I'm happy to be facing a few days off and a side project to take my mind off of things. I hope next week will be less emotional. But with infertility and adoption, you simply never know what's next.

Monday, May 7, 2012

what the future holds

The other night, Joey told me that he read my april showers; may flowers post and that it made him sad. Though we've discussed living child free privately, it's the first time I've ever written about it or expressed it in such a public way. I know it was as difficult for him to read as it was for me to write. It's not easy to talk about "the end" or what would happen if adoption doesn't end up working out. In some ways, I can relate it to ending infertility treatments. As much as we all love to plan for "just in case this doesn't work," we WANT it to work. We never want to have to set aside that initial dream.

Only with this, it's 10x more emotional. Adoption was not a back-up plan; it was simply an alternate one - one we were happy moving forward with. Sure, there was grieving involved. I had to grieve the loss of a pregnancy that I would never have. We both had to grieve the loss of a biological child. But our hearts were filled with so much hope when we thought about adoption. Hope and understanding that it didn't matter how we became parents - that we would simply be parents to any child who came into our lives. Now that there is no other step, it's easier to see child free living as an option.

Somewhere along this journey, I realized that I wanted to be a mom, but that it wouldn't necessarily make or break me as a person. This concept has become very real to me now. I don't want people to take that as a sign of giving up. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that I'm prepared. We're prepared. We've talked about what we would do in either scenario. We've talked about buying a bigger house in the area if this does happen, with a yard for Danica and our little one to play in; likewise, we've discussed where we'd take our "mourning" vacation if things don't work out (Europe, hands down). We've set a timeline. I don't view doing these things as being pessimistic. I view it as being realistic. Like infertility treatments, things don't always work out - and it's more likely the case with people like us who don't have tons of disposable income to keep going on with this forever.

This is by no means easy for me to admit, especially all of you in this community. In fact, it's incredibly difficult. To think that it could all end in one second. To think that everything we worked for could be over. But I have to start accepting that. I've ignored it far too long. I spent so much time planning what our future would be like with a child that I didn't pay any attention to what our lives might look like without a child. I was afraid to. I guess this is proof that infertility has made me stronger. A year or so ago, I never would have been able to think about these things.

The future is a mystery to me. I could get a call 10 minutes after I finish this blog post saying we are matched or that there's a baby at the hospital ready for us to pick up a baby. Or, I could be sitting in this exact same chair one year from now, writing another blog about decisions and acceptance. I don't have a crystal ball (though it'd be nice) to reassure me of what's going to happen. The only thing I can control is my own emotion, my own reactions. And for the first time in nearly four year, I feel as if I've finally grasped how to do that.

Friday, May 4, 2012

dear friday: i love you

Thank you all so much for the kind comments on my last post. The longer we wait, the harder it gets. But it's nice to know that there are still people hanging with us while we wait. I appreciate the love and support, and I know that Joey does, too.

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It's Friday, which means I made it through my first week back at work after surgery. I'm so glad it's over. I'm still feeling pretty well overall. My only complaint is the sinus pressure. It moves around to different spots in my head, but it's constant. I'm not allowed to take any Advil or Tylenol until next Wednesday because of potential bleeding complications, so I have to suffer through the pain. Putting a heating pad on the back of my head/neck helps, as well as the heat from showers and the nasal rinses (which feel SO weird). Everyone who has gone through the surgery keeps telling me that it will go away for good in a couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to it!

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Now that I'm out of school, I have a ton of free time. So I'm gearing up to start and/or finish a couple of projects, including backing up all of my blog posts, moving my blog to Wordpress, and finishing at least one of the two books I'm working on. I'd also love to take a few basic photography and web design classes. I need to stay busy. For the last year and a half, it's homework that's kept me occupied. Now something else needs to fill my time, for fear of going completely insane on this wait. I already finished the entire 50 Shades series in less than a week. At this rate, if I don't find anything else to do, I'll be glued to books until we get the call. (Not that this is a bad thing, but variety would be nice.)

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This week's featured item on our Etsy page is this gorgeous red wreath, donated by Laurie at The hoot hoot shop. Laurie has been one of my biggest cheerleaders on Twitter, and I can't thank her enough for donating her amazing work to help raise money for our adoption fund.

Please consider purchasing a craft or donating an item to be purchased. 100% of the proceeds go into our adoption account. I also want to thank my friend, Helen, for her donation last week. I'm so lucky to have such amazing friends!

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

april showers; may flowers

May is here.

I have a strong love/hate relationship with this month. On the plus side, it's the month of Joey's birthday and our wedding anniversary. The minus? Well. It's the month of Mother's Day - the hardest holiday to endure as an infertile woman. It also marks when we started trying to have a baby, and this particular May marks 6 months on the waiting list with our agency. 6 months with just 2 phone calls and 3 profile views and four years of waiting for a baby, colliding in the month that constantly reminds me of how I'm not a mother yet.

As each month passes, a little more sadness fills my heart. But so does confidence. Not necessarily confidence that we'll be chosen soon. Instead, it's confidence that everything will be okay, regardless of what happens. For whatever reason, this adoption journey has brought me some sense of peace with the idea of living child free. Maybe it's the fact that this is the end of the rope as far as options go. Maybe it's knowing that one slip-up, such as a disrupted adoption, could leave us with little money left to continue. Maybe it's all of these little things gathered into one realization that this is it. I'm not sure. But as frustrating as the last six months have been, they've also been a bit of a healing process - a different one than what I went through between IF treatments and filling out the adoption paperwork.

I just wish I didn't need healing. I wish it would be over. I wish that, after four years, this journey would end. There are so many moments when I feel as though we're standing at the exact same spot on the exact same road we were on when we started this. Yet, I know we aren't. We're close - very close. We will get there. One foot in front of the other, we'll make it to the end of the road. It's what I've told myself every day since we weren't chosen for the situation we felt so good about last month, and it's what I have to keep telling myself until we do reach our resolution. It could happen at any time.

If only that time could be now.