Wednesday, March 31, 2010


What I have noticed lately is that my normal, healthy defense mechanism called "denial" has taken a vacation. This friend of mine has abandoned me in my time of need. So, in an effort to grasp at some sort of sanity, I am going to "fake it." I figured it might be appropriate to do this publicly, so as to make my faking more real. Here it goes...

I am not at all jealous of the upteenth woman who just walked into a meeting at work today six months pregnant, talking as if being pregnant was the easiest and most natural thing in the world. This did not remind me of all the women I see daily whose babies come easily, and let's not forget their babies do not die like mine do...But I am not jealous. I am also not so uncontrollably sad that I am on the verge of tears at any given moment.

I am certainly not struck with intense disappointment about the fact that we will celebrate our EIGHTH year of marriage in a few months, all of those years spent childless. And I certainly won't think about my dreams of marriage and family, and how this fact does not at all live up to those dreams, as those dreams consisted of at least two children filling our lives and home by now.

I do not get sick to my stomach as I walk into work and one of my coworkers is visiting with her perfect newborn baby, and I certainly do not want to scream at her for sticking a knife in my wound for the day.

I am not angry at my own body, for failing me when I needed it the most.

I do not blame myself for all the loss Jason and I have had to endure.

I am not terrified beyond belief that the program I supervise may be completely annihilated come July 1, as we lost all our funders, and we have no word yet on new funders. I do not consider this program my baby, and the only baby I was able to nurture and sustain for the last two and a half years. Therefore, I certainly do not experience this impending loss as similar to a miscarriage.

I do not worry obsessively that not only will I not be able to tolerate this wait for a baby, but I will also turn out to be an awful adoptive mom.

I do not feel as though my entire world is crumbling down around me.

There, that should do it. If you are listening, Dear Friend Denial, please come back to me. I need you desperately right now.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Infertility Etiquette

Well, you all have most likely read my previous post by now. I've had infertility on the brain, and I can feel it in my heart. It is heavy. I ran across an article, on the Resolve website, and I'd really like for everyone I know to read it. Read it all. Please. It spells out the pain and loss that we "infertiles" experience on a daily (ok, hourly) basis. It is not judgmental, or pushy, but instead is a great way to explain to people 1) What it is like to be us and 2) How you can (and can't) help.

To read, please go here.

I don't think you'll be disappointed. The reality is, I will always be an infertile woman. I will always carry the experience of failure as a woman and as a mom with me...always. Not only can I barely conceive a child, I can't carry a baby to term. Our babies died in my body. That knowledge is life altering. Almost everything they mentioned in this article has been said, or done, to me. And I have had so many moments of holding back tears from the pain, that I can't even count them anymore. So, I guess education is key. So others don't have to have the same pain. I hope you are able to share this link with your friends and family, too. I think there is a lot to be learned from it. No one says or does these things to hurt us. They just need more information, so here it is. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Less Than

Well, I hit a wall. I thought I was doing so well with everything, really moving forward. And I did something stupid. I put myself into multiple situations, one after the other, that tested my new-found strength and I've just been raw since. This weekend ended up being too much for me, and it didn't hit me until Sunday evening when I started crying uncontrollably for about an hour. I was fine throughout the weekend, kept my game face on, and really thought my defenses were working well. And then Sunday evening came and I just couldn't hold it together anymore. Let me preface this by saying, I put myself in all of these situations willingly. No one hurt me, or set out to hurt me, in any way. I just have to know my limits. And I have a lot of feelings to reconcile, and that is my journey. That said....

I asked a best friend to go with me to register at two stores. She has had multiple children, and I just knew she would be able to guide me in my selections. And I was right! It was awesome having her there! We went to Target and she decided to register, also, as she is pregnant right now. I was actually really excited. And, honestly, it was fun! I have always dreamed of registering with a friend, being pregnant with a friend. We giggled as we both scanned the same things. If only we had a camera to document this unique time in our lives! It truly was a fun experience. (I'll explain where my emotions went south after I describe the next two instances.)

I then went that night to a couples' home who just had a baby, their third. They are new friends of ours, and Jason really wanted to go. He and the husband work together and are very close. Now, this was the first time I have faced a newborn "head on" in a very long time. I even bought a cute gift that day, packaged it up, bought a card, and gave it to them! All things I have not been able to do in years (I always ask someone else to buy and give the gifts). I held this gorgeous 6-day old infant all night and did not cry (openly) once! I smiled and congratulated them and didn't wish them pain (you know, the kind I've had to experience)....I'm growing here, people!! (Again, I'll explain where it all went wrong soon....)

The next day I went to my niece's birthday party. I refuse to miss any of my beautiful nieces' birthday parties if I can help it. And I enjoyed it! She was happy and adorable and I can't believe she is 4! It was overall a good time. Then, I got in the car, and proceeded to cry...

...and my first words to Jason as we drove home were, "I feel like a failure." I explained, sobbing, "I can't give you that. I just can't do it." And then cried for about an hour, off and on. So, what happened you might ask? Well, let's start at the beginning - the registering. The infertile woman in me reared her ugly head, as I'm assuming she will always and forever do on occasion. What I was not letting myself feel during those moments of fun was all the pain that was also there. I noticed that my friend was able to name her registry after her baby (mine was just named "Faith and Jason's Baby Stuff"). She was also able to put a real due date, not some made-up one because the registry forces you to enter one. She avoided awkward comments at the registry counter because she looked like she was really expecting ( I won't go into the comments I got). And, lastly, she was able to pick out things with her real baby in mind. I had to pick out gender neutral things, and things that any baby would need, because I really had no idea who, what, when, where or how my baby would come to me. My baby is not real. I am not really expecting at all.

Then, I picked out a baby gift and card for another mom with a real baby. I went to her house and held her baby. I watched as her baby cried for her and ate hungrily when mommy came to the rescue. I listened as the daddy proudly talked about how strong mommy was and how she "bounced back" so easily. I saw how happy he was kissing his new baby girl - he was literally giddy with love and pride! And it occurred to me, I cannot make my husband, nor any of my family members, that happy or that proud. I cannot do what she does so easily. I just can't.

Then I went to my niece's birthday party and again saw a relaxed family, happily expecting another child. I saw them celebrate their child's day with ease. I saw from the outside what it would be like to not have life spit in your face, and kick you when you are down. I saw a glimpse of the happiness we could have had, if only our babies had lived and we hadn't experienced grief so deep, I can't even find the bottom. And, I realized, I may never be that relaxed, that carefree.

All of this made me feel like a failure, like a "less than." I am less than truly expecting, as I cannot carry a baby to term and am now "expecting" a baby who may or may not even exist yet. I am less than a perfect wife, because I cannot give my husband the joy of a biological child, of watching me give birth, of just being able to have things go smoothly and be relaxed in his home and in his life, as I saw other couples be able to do this weekend. I cannot explain the energy, but they were just more carefree, less heavy. Our losses weigh us down, and that is my fault. I just keep losing our babies. I am less than a perfect daughter or daughter-in-law because I can't give our families the biological grandchildren they have always dreamed of. I am less than a real woman because I can't even get pregnant - our most basic task in this life.

Jana Wolff writes in her book, "Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother," that she went on a shopping trip to buy baby things with her mother when she was expecting her child, by way of his first mom. About this trip, she writes, " Motherhood was becoming more real to me, not by virtue of a swelling belly, but with a growing accumulation of baby stuff. I sensed the slightest whiff of pity from our baby-store guide and wondered if these gifts represented a dream come true for me, or a dream that didn't come true. Every thought of this baby to come was also a reminder of the baby that never came."

So true. Every step in this journey holds hope and grief, and I've been denying the grief. Mostly because I desperately want to be done with the grief. But wanting something so badly doesn't make it so. What I have to try to do is reconcile what I lost with what is to come. And, honestly, I don't think what we lost will ever leave us. I don't think we'll ever have such a carefree and "light" energy as those other couples have. Our children will not come to us easily, effortlessly. And, at least for me, I think that will always stick with me, for better or for worse. For now, I have to figure out how to be ok with being less than a real expectant mom, less than a perfect wife and less than a perfect, reproducing daughter. I also have to figure out how to fall in love with a less than real baby. I just don't know how to do all of this right now, I really don't. So, I cry...especially in the still, quiet moments....I cry.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cute Stuff!!

I wanted to show you all the cute things that our baby-to-be now owns:). First of all, Jason and I have bought a few little things here and there. Let me show you:

We bought this blanket at Babies R Us. Won't it match our black and white theme so well??

I also got this adorable touch and feel book and we bought these organic onesies because they were on sale:). Little by little. And one of my favorite buys:

I found this on CLEARANCE at Hallmark. This is what it says: "Your birth mother whispered her prayer for your safety. We, your adoptive parents whispered our prayer for a family. Somewhere in the universe love was listening. Now in our arms our prayers were answered. The whispers of an unselfish heart now sing in our lullabies of love for you."
Tissues, anyone:)?

On top of all these wonderful things, my dear sweet sister sent us an "Expecting" package, full of ADORABLE things for our baby, including a congratulations card for the parents-to-be! How sweet! Take a look:

The aforementioned card, a cute blanket and binkies. Are they not the cutest things EVER:)? And, in my opinion, the best part of the package:

Ok, that is the cutest outfit I have ever seen! The picture doesn't do it justice. The hat says, "I love hugs." This outfit is definitely in the running for the "coming home from the hospital" outfit! Thank you SO much, Aunt Angela and Uncle Brian!

So, there you go. Hope and excitement is in the air! Can you feel it? We are so blessed....I could literally go on and on about the people who have rallied around us, and are making us feel like true expectant parents. I'll save that for another day:). Thank you to everyone, both in real life and online, who have made this experience so incredible. I now treasure every day, because every day brings joy...and you all have everything to do with that. Thank you!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


That is really all I can say about this week..."wow." So much has happened, and we've been catapulted into the "expecting" role. It's very surreal, honestly. First, the biggest news of all - we're in the book! We officially got all our stuff to our social worker yesterday and now, my friends, it is completely out of our hands! Second, we began our registry at Babies 'R Us. Now, that was weird. Sitting there at the registry table between two women about to pop...well, it was interesting. And trying to pick out things for a baby we don't know was also difficult. Not only do we not know our baby, we don't know how or when s/he will come to us. It made registering a little less personal, and certainly not as exciting as I always imagined it to be. I couldn't even dream about the day my baby would come as we scanned things, because I couldn't even imagine how or when that would happen. So, we picked out some random things and at least felt productive in starting something. Anticlimactic is the word I would use, honestly.

I do believe, however, that I have officially entered into the world of expectant mothers, as I have had two pretty obvious "symptoms":

1. I had a very bizarre dream that pretty much included all my biggest fears about becoming a mom, as listed here: the baby will come abruptly and unexpectedly (the baby was dropped off the day after we got on the list in my dream), I won't know anything about the baby (the social worker couldn't even tell me his birthdate), I won't think the baby is cute, I won't feel connected to the baby, or feel like his mommy (it was a boy in the dream), and we will have feeding issues (in the dream, my baby kept choking and then projectile vomiting all the formula I gave him). All the little things in the back of my head surfaced in this dream. I guess it's time to deal with the anxiety that comes with expecting a baby.

2. I am literally crying about EVERYthing. If I see stories of families, of love, of children on TV, I become an emotional mess. My youngest niece greeted me at the door with my name for the first time last night and I about lost it as I kissed and hugged her. I feel so raw as I think about the day our lives will change - filled with feelings of anticipation, excitement and fear and dread over the wait. I can't even tell you what I feel at any given moment, it's that complicated. So, I cry at everything.

So, there you go. I'm expecting (kind of). It is incredibly exciting AND surprisingly terrifying all at once. I don't even have words for how that feels. I can just tell you, it is powerful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why adoption? Why now?

Since we have announced our plans to adopt to different people, I've noticed the questions in their eyes. If you want some perspective about how it feels to announce your plans for adoption and get a luke warm reaction, go to E's blog and Jodi's blog. Because these blogs are great, and because this really isn't the focus of my post, I'm not going to comment...for now:). But, back to the questions I see when I announce our plans to adopt. It seems those questions go un-asked. It's like people are afraid to say, "What made you decide to adopt?" and "Why now?" So, I decided that I would post about it and at least YOU all would get the benefit of my answers. For the record, I wouldn't mind if anyone asked their questions, if they asked with curiosity and NOT judgement. I love to talk about our journey of infertility, our losses and our plans to adopt. They're all an important part of who I am. That said....

My heart first began opening to adoption at my first appointment at my second RE (we didn't like the first after 9 months of treatment and decided to get a second opinion). This appointment was in August 2009. As I sat in the waiting room, I noticed The Adoption Guide magazine on the table. I picked it up. I became enthralled with all the stories of adoption, and I read about the process, and I even read about the adoption tax credit. We went in to see the doctor and the news wasn't good. We had a less than 5% chance of conceiving on our own and his course of treatment barely brought us to 17%. We faced month after month of intrusive, expensive treatment, with no promise of anything. We still had dreams of a biological child (and still do by the way), so we did treatment, and I kept going back, and I continued to be drawn to the adoption magazines in the waiting room. As I read the stories, I cried. My heart had been touched by adoption. I started searching stories and information online, and it became more and more real to me that this adoption thing was possible for us.

So, one day, I decided to ask Jason about it. I worried about his reaction because I guess I had already decided that this was the route I wanted to go (even if I hadn't even admitted it to myself yet) and I was terrified he would say he didn't want to do it. Jason had all the normal initial doubts and questions about adoption, so we talked, and I educated him on some things I had learned in my research, and I echoed some of his worries. As we talked more, I told him that just the thought of adoption made my heart lighter. Infertility literally coated my heart with sadness, anger and hopelessness. The thought of adoption brought HOPE back into my life. As I thought about it, I thought about the fact that we WOULD have a baby through this process. I never had that guarantee with fertility treatments. I think that was what helped Jason to begin thinking about the possibilities. I have a husband who cares SO much about my happiness. I am truly blessed. When he saw the tears in my eyes as I described how happy the idea of adoption made me, well, he was willing to give it some more thought. I know so many other woman out there who are ready for adoption, but their husbands are not. I am so lucky that I have Jason, and that he loves me so much that he is willing to go into uncomfortable territory for our family, and for my happiness.

We started requesting information from agencies in September and, well, as you all know by now, we found out we were pregnant in November. Going back to the beginning of this post, there were different reactions to our pregnancy than we got when we announced our plans to adopt. But, I can somewhat understand that, for reasons we won't talk about today:). Anyway, after we got pregnant and lost our angel, it was tempting to get back on the fertility train. I mean, we got pregnant again, right? We saw a beautiful healthy baby on ultrasound, we experienced the excitement of pregnancy, we were getting a taste of our dream. Like I said, it was tempting. So, I had surgery, we did testing, we waited for phone calls, the doctor wanted to do another HSG (much to my dismay), we were disappointed when the information given was not helpful (such as when they told me they did not grow enough cells to test the baby)....and then I realized quite quickly, I really cannot do this anymore. I literally do not have it in me. I know so many women who go at this for years and years (some up to 10 years!). Maybe I am weak, I don't know. But, this journey was eating me alive, and I am not exaggerating. It literally consumed me, little by little, until I wasn't even sure how I was walking around upright anymore. So, we went back to our original plan of adoption. And here we are a few months later, ready to be put in "the book!"

So, why adoption? Why now? Because we want to be parents and we think we'll be good at it! Because we've been through so much pain already and it's time for something good in our lives. Because until you have experienced infertility, you really don't know how much it can suck out of you and out of your life. And because I made a conscious decision to take control and not allow my infertility to control me. So, I don't need your pity (yes, I do see pity in people's reactions at times). Adoption is not a SAD thing. It's a wonderful thing! It is so very sad that we are infertile, and it is so sad that we were able to have pregnancies only to have them ripped from us. I get that. But, our plan to adopt is anything but sad. Adoption has brought us hope, love and happiness, and we don't even have our baby yet! So, celebrate with us, ok? The best is yet to come! Isn't that wonderful?! I never could say that with infertility treatments. So, let me say it again, because I can - THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fastest. Homestudy. Ever.

Our homestudy is completed, at least on our end!!! Actually, Jason still needs his medical form filled out this week, but we're not concerned about that. We did our interviews on Friday, and it went quickly and painlessly. The social worker kept saying she was "doing the Reader's Digest version." She met with us together, then Jason on his own, then me on my own, and then us together again. She said she did not see any red flags. Phew! She also said she thinks we'll have many opportunities to be shown because we are so open to different things. Yay!!! She emailed on Saturday and was already working on her report. I love this woman! She is on the ball!

So, this week I am completing the Dear Birthparent letter (ugggghh), the photo collage and the information for birthparents form. I set it up with the social worker to hand it all to her on Saturday when we are in Tucson, at which point we will officially be in THE BOOK! For this week, she said if a situation pops up, she'll call us. So, we are technically ready to be shown! I am struggling with the Dear Birthparent letter because it is fully written now, but we only have a page, and I feel like there is so much more to be said. But, I am coming to peace with the fact that it doesn't have to be perfect. I am also struggling with the photo collage. It looks nice on the computer, but when I had Staples print it on glossy paper, it looked too dark. Oh, and I made 11 copies which cost me $13. I figured it was the best I was going to get. But, when I got home, I just couldn't deal with it. I'm only a little bit of a perfectionist;). And, remember, this is the ONLY thing we can control in this I want it to be good. Another adoptive mommy who was in my classes told me about another place in town who might be able to lighten it up for me. So, instead of getting something done today, I created another task to be done this week.

I have to be honest...I am exhausted! I have been spending every free minute doing adoption -related stuff. I guess it is good practice for when we have the little one home. What I learned, though, is that I cannot work full time and be a good mommy. I am SO drained after work, and trying to balance all this adoption stuff with my job is just too much. When I'm at work, I'm distracted with all the other things I need to be doing for the homestudy or the nursery and when I'm finally home, I'm so exhausted and don't have the energy to give the personal stuff my full attention. I admire people who can do it all and stay energetic and on top of things. I guess I'm not one of those people.

So, there you go. Our homestudy is done. I think it took about 5 weeks...can't beat that! Now, we wait, and hope and pray for our miracle. Please keep us in your prayers - that we have the strength and patience to endure this uncertain wait with grace.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Birthday

Well, I am 30 today. Thirty and childless. Wow, hard to believe. I have always wanted children so badly...I can't believe I am THIRTY without them. I just keep clinging to the desperate hope that next year I will be celebrating with my baby in my arms (I hoped that last year, too, but here we are). Please pray for me that by next year, my prayers are answered. I'm not sure how many more birthdays I can tolerate with empty arms.

That is always my first thought on every birthday...what I don't have. But, today, I have other thoughts, too. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am blessed. I was literally inundated with calls, texts, emails, cards, gifts and birthday wishes today. And, the best part was it seemed everyone knew the wish of my heart. They wrote things like "Hoping this year is the magic year you are waiting for" and "Hoping this year brings you all you are dreaming of." The infertiles of the world often struggle with what to share about our journey, because it is so sensitive and personal, and because the smallest "wrong" comment can send us over the edge. But, I have chosen to be open, to not be ashamed of my empty womb, and to allow others to love me and support me through this difficult time in my life. And people do! They take the opportunity to literally shower me with warm wishes. My heart is so full from the kindness of others. Today was a reminder of just how many people touch my life, and how many people are out there who love me and want only good things for me. I feel like the richest woman in the world!

So, tonight, we had a little party. My gorgeous nieces absolutely LOVE to come over and wish me happy birthday, bring me homemade cards, and eat brownies and ice cream. They are happy because I am happy on my special day. I love them so much, I'm afraid my heart will burst. They make every birthday worth celebrating - without them, I probably wouldn't celebrate at all. And that is the joy of children - they manage to make every day joyful. I am so thankful that their mom and dad raised them to love us, to consider us family. It is truly my honor to be their aunt.

As usual, today is another day to grieve, and another day to celebrate. It is so weird to always be on that fence. I have to choose which way I want to go each day. Today, I choose celebration! I have the best friends, family and co-workers that any girl could ever ask for. That is something I never want to take for granted. Happy Birthday to Me!