Friday, April 30, 2010

Impending Doom

Can anyone feel the earth moving, the dark clouds coming, the signs of pain to come? I sure can. And the reason is Mother's Day is a week away. There is no other day of the year that rips my heart into pieces like Mother's Day. I have two anniversaries of miscarriages and two due dates that mean nothing to anyone but me every year. I also survive friends' children's birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas every year, all childless. But no day is able to remind me of all I have lost and all that I am missing like Mother's Day. And I had forgotten how incredibly sickening and awful the entire week leading up to Mother's Day really is.

Every commercial, every TV show, every news story, every advertisement reminds me that I am not a mom, like I needed the entire American culture to remind me of this powerful fact that resides in my head and in my heart every day. I went to pick out Mother's Day cards (for our dear moms and other important women in our lives) and felt like I went to battle. Every other card was "Now that I'm a parent" and "First Mother's Day" cards. Each time, I felt my stomach turn. I sure didn't see a "Happy Mother's Day to a very special mom. We will be remembering your angel babies today" card. I walked out of my favorite store, Hallmark, as if I had survived a war...with wounds that may or may not heal.

So, today I am thinking of what my next Sunday will not be like. I will not have my goofy husband and my child (my son would be about 18 months old right now) serving my breakfast in bed, giggling as I make a big deal out of the gesture. I won't have a scribbled picture as my present, with daddy's handwriting labeling it, to call my very own and to treasure forever. I won't hear those sweet words, "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy." I won't go out and be honored everywhere I go, because while I am a mother of 2 very precious angels, I am not a mother in anyone else's eyes. I also will not be happily receiving "You're expecting, new mommy" cards, as I would be if I was still pregnant. In case anyone is counting (yeah, right), I would be about 30 weeks on Mother's Day this year, and people would be honoring me. But, not this Sunday. Not this Mother's Day.

Pray for me this week. My heart is aching, my womb is empty and my arms are light, too light. And this culture is going to be celebrating all week. And we should celebrate. Moms are the most amazing people on earth, true gifts to us all. I just want to be one of them, more than anything I've ever wanted in my life. I just want to be a Mom.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What IF

I am taking part in a project that is a collaboration between Mel at Stirrup Queens and Resolve, called Project IF.

Project IF is to honor National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), which ends May 1. If you'd like to know more about NIAW, please go here. The project started out with many women struggling with infertility (IF stands for infertility for those not in our not-so-desirable club) posting on Mel's blog their worst fears, of just the things they wonder or worry about, in the form of "what IFs." It has expanded to a second step, and bloggers have been asked to pick one "what IF" from the short list they created and blog about it, in the hopes of spreading the word about us IFers, who we are, and maybe even how you can be supportive.

If you are interested in learning more about infertility, go here.

And, please, take the time to visit the list of "what IFs," I believe the list is both eye- and heart-opening. To see the list, go here. There is research to suggest that the stress of infertility is comparable to the stress a person experiences when dealing with cancer diagnosis and treatment. People rally around those battling cancer, but they shy away from those fighting infertility. Please do not allow us to be invisible any more. ANYone can take part in the project, not just IFers, and write about your hopes and dreams for someone you know struggling through infertility. Now, moving on to the "what IF" I chose to explore...

"What IF despite my (hopeful) ultimate success I never let go of the resentment at and jealousy of the women who got to do this the "normal" way and who never experienced pregnancy loss?"

I chose this particular "what IF" instead of another one about adoption, because this issue has been heavy on my heart lately. When I started the adoption journey, I thought that adoption would heal me in a way that would make this not an issue. I knew that I would always carry my identity as an infertile woman with me. I did not know that my heart would still experience excruciating pain every time I see a pregnant woman, or am invited to yet another baby shower. Today, there was a pregnant woman in every meeting or session I was in. Every. Single. One. And I struggled to not cry in every single one. They ranged from 16 year olds living with their parents to middle-aged woman pregnant with one of many children.

And it dawned on me in these meetings...pregnancy is natural, easy and simple. I know, I know, it's a pain, it's uncomfortable, blah, blah, blah. But, for the most part, for most woman, they get a positive test, they dream of their healthy baby, they have 9 months of pregnancy or so, and they have a healthy birth and are handed that healthy baby they dreamed of 40 weeks or so ago. It's that simple, people! I know some of you know this, and may have experienced this. But my view on pregnancy is warped beyond belief. And I am angry about this. And I am jealous of others who can be "blissfully ignorant," who can assume a baby is to follow after that probably easily achieved BFP (big fat positive, again, for those not a part of our club). I do not see pregnancy as a beautiful time of hope and change and new life. I see it as, first and foremost, a mythical thing that happens to people in a different dimension than I am living in. I see it second as another opportunity for incredible loss and pain. What I never see pregnancy as is a natural, healthy, simple process that leads to a baby.

So, back to my "what IF." I think I will always be sad about my learned, albeit warped, view of pregnancy. I will also be angry that others get to experience this "other reality," often over and over again. And I will be jealous that they don't even think about the possibility of loss, death, pain and life-altering grief every time they see a positive on that test. It doesn't even cross their minds. Instead, they complain about aches, pains, their bodies changing, their lives changing, whatever...always taking for granted this amazing gift they have been given. Honestly, me having that pregnancy experience and giving birth to a healthy baby is as foreign and mythical to me as those other ("normal") women imagining carrying a unicorn for 9 months and giving birth to it. It is that outside of my realm of reality.

And that makes me sick. I cannot even see something that is supposed to be natural and beautiful for what it is. And I honestly don't know if that will ever change. And that prospect frightens me to my core.

The last part of the Project is to end our posts with a positive "What IF," something we see as best-case scenario for ourselves. Here it is...

What IF I hold my first child in my arms, who came to me in a non-traditional way, and I think "This was who we have been waiting for. This is the child who was meant for us, and us for him/her. Everything is clear now. The stars are truly aligned. Life finally makes sense again" and my heart fills with only love and I am able to let go of my anger, grief, jealousy and pain...for good? What IF?

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I had a meltdown today, and try not to laugh when I tell you the reason for this complete loss of composure. Remember how we had half a dresser? Well, I decided we should at least finish the dresser this weekend. I immediately looked at the instructions and the hardware and became frustrated with it (surprise, surprise) and Jason continued on. In the hand-over of the task, I did not show him the screws that went with the hinges. So, he used the longer screws. And, they went through the side of the dresser and broke the wood. That was it. I was having an okay day, and then I wasn't. My stomach was sick, and I was actually in tears...because there were two (very small) imperfections on the side of my baby's dresser.

Nope. I'm not kidding.

So, being the reflective person I am, as I am sick to my stomach and crying, I am thinking "What is this really about, Faith? It can't seriously be about the dresser." And the answer was pretty clear.

We tried to conceive a baby, and the process was anything but perfect. Many people enjoy a night of passion, and boom, a life is created. Instead, we got pills, shots, surgeries, sperm analyses, invasive procedures, and years of disappointment, rage and incredible sadness. Not so perfect.

We got pregnant. That process went south within 12 weeks, both times. While most women go in for their ultrasounds, high on life, ready to see that beautiful life they created, I went into ultrasounds, heart pounding, palms sweating, getting myself ready for my world to be rocked. And it was. Twice. Again, it doesn't get any less perfect than that.

So, is it too much to freakin' ask that my baby furniture does not have holes in it where they shouldn't be?! My God. I mean, really?

I guess what is really the most imperfect part of it all is that our baby is not warmly tucked in my arms....right now. All I have is the furniture. So doesn't it then make sense that I need that furniture to be perfect?

In case you are wondering....

Although not perfect, it is beautiful. Hmmmm.....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And So It Begins....

So, this is what our nursery looks like for now. Not very pretty, I know! But, it takes a mess to create, so here it is! We have a great friend who is coming over and putting together the stuff for us. He is just really good at it, and we are SO not, so it's nice to have his help:). So, this is the beginning of the dresser. The big box on the left is the crib and the crib mattress is behind the dresser. Just FYI, our glider got delayed, so I'm not sure when it will come. But, our dear friends are buying it for us and we feel so blessed to have them giving us such a generous gift! We will wait as long as we have to:)! Oh, and there is no paint on the walls because we are renting and really don't want to have to paint it back to white when we move sometime in the future. So, we'll have to just put really cool things on the wall to spruce it up! I'll try to post the progress pictures as we go. Enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Dark Side of Faith

As I sit and watch Army Wives tonight, I am reminded of the not-so-pretty side of myself. In many ways, my infertility and loss of two babies have made me hard. And I don't like it. But, to stay true to my quest to make sure the entire experience of my infertility (even the dirty parts) is shared, I want to be honest. Here it goes...

Those of you who watch TV at all know that there is literally NO show on the market that does not include someone getting pregnant at some point. I mean, even The Office had to go and ruin the show with the crazy Jim and Pam baby story. If you watch Army Wives, you know Roxy is pregnant. If you are like me, you wanted to throw up, as once again, one of your favorite shows, one of the things that brings you joy at the end of the day, is now also something that brings you pain. Now, I'm going to let you in on a secret. Every time I see someone get pregnant on TV or in the movies (usually unexpectedly, or literally one show after they decide to start trying), I wish they would miscarry.

What?! Did I just say that?! Yes, I did, but let me explain. I don't wish them ill will (I mean, they are TV characters for goodness sakes). I don't hate them, I don't want them to hurt the way I have hurt. What I want is for my experience to be part of our society, to be recognized and acknowledged, even in the media. I want my story to repeat in people's minds as they watch their favorite shows, because it repeats in mine every minute of every day. Mostly, I want to stop feeling like a complete and total freak of nature.

Every time I am in the real world, I am reminded that 95% of the population can get pregnant easily, have relatively easy pregnancies, and give birth to perfectly healthy, beautiful babies. And it hurts, for many reasons...but mostly because I can't. I literally cannot do that. So, is it too much to ask that when I am in the comfort of my own home, watching my favorite "stories," that my story is also told? Is it too much to ask that I am not made to feel like some alien who doesn't belong with the rest of the child-bearing women on this planet? Must I be reminded repeatedly of my painfully rare empty womb, my precious angels lost too soon?

So, am I evil? I honestly don't know. Am I the only infertile woman who feels this way? I'm not sure. Until now, I haven't been brave enough to share these feelings. I want to make one thing clear: I am not proud of them. I am normally a compassionate, sometimes overly caring and empathic person. I have to believe that this desire to see pain in my favorite TV characters' lives is not an indication of a lurking propensity towards evil inside of me, but really a desperate attempt to feel like I belong in a world that has become so painfully foreign to me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shared Fate

The following excerpts are taken from "The Long Awaited Stork: A Guide to Parenting After Infertility" by Ellen Sarasohn Glazer

"Adoptive parents, their child, and their child's birthparents do, indeed, have a shared fate. Had any of them had their first choice in life, they would not be together in the adoption triangle."

I have been looking at this shared fate, or what I like to call "shared grief," as a nasty thing. It has actually been making me terrified to adopt. Honestly, I have felt that I might be an awful adoptive parent, because this wasn't my first choice, and because I would worry that my child would always want his/her "real" parents, and therefore always be unhappy. However, this book has allowed me to look at it in a new light. This "shared fate" can actually be a wonderful foundation for a family:

"When they are at odds, when the going gets rough, adoptive parents and children can hopefully find some comfort in feeling that they came together through fate. Unlike biological families, which are formed without question, adoptive families are usually the result of a great deal of pain and soul-searching."

Yes! What if, instead of fighting our feelings of shared grief and trying to deny it exists, we embrace it? Not to make the story of our family a sad one, but to make it an honest one? And when we are honest, we are able to share and have empathy for each other. That is a gift! When we can do this, maybe the relationships between adoptive parents and their children, and between first parents and adoptive parents, don't have to be so scary. Maybe we all have a different and deeper understanding of each other, if we allow ourselves to open our hearts to another's experience. A parent in this book writes:

"We came together after each of us had suffered an enormous loss. That we survived the loss and became a family is something we will always share and which, I believe, will help us stay close."

Out of the ashes of loss and shared grief, we can create a beautiful family, with all members of the triad welcome. I want to see the beauty at the other side of this, not just the pile of ashes that must bring us to this place. I'm going to keep working on this...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Friends, A TV Show Review

I'd like to talk about my all-time favorite show, Friends. Jason and I LOVE it! We always said we were like Monica and Chandler....WAY before infertility entered our lives. How ironic. I was thinking about this show this morning, and how infertility and adoption are portrayed in the media, and decided to do a "TV show review" on Friends (not as academic as a book review to be sure:))!

First, let's talk infertility. I believe the Bing's (that's Monica and Chandler in case you don't watch...and if you don't watch, what is WRONG with you?!) journey with infertility lasted about half a season. Somewhere around that time, their great friend, Rachel, became pregnant with an "oopsy" and went on to have a perfect daughter (apparently condoms don't work 100% of the time and "THEY SHOULD PUT THAT ON THE BOX!!"). LOL, I digress. In fact, Monica and Chandler took care of her daughter as they were trying to conceive, unsuccessfully. Not ONCE did they portray the tension, pain, sadness, anger, etc that comes between friends when one can conceive and carry a child so easily, and the other cannot. The only grief they showed us about the Bing's infertility was when the doctor called and told them they both have issues and will not be able to have children together. Monica and Chandler had a brief conversation about options, and decided in about two minutes that they both agreed on next steps (how often does THAT happen?).

Cut to the next few episodes, and all of a sudden they are happily adopting (no reservations at all). Yeah, because that's how it happens. Certainly, we don't go through a grieving process when we give up on the idea of having biological children, and we obviously don't have any reservations, because adopting is so easy, right? Their homestudy is seamless and the match quick. I will give them credit, though, where credit is due. They definitely showed the nervousness we feel as our homes are being scrutinized by social workers, and they for sure showed Monica's intense desire to get a call as soon as possible.

What I loved about how they portrayed the adoption process was how open it was. They met the birth mom, came to know and love her, and were there when the babies were born (yes, she had twins). It ended there, though. They happily took two babies home and "bid ado" to the birth mom. No mention of the intense grief she was experiencing (I know, I know, not real life here), and no mention of an adjustment period for these babies, who just lost their first mom (the birth dad was non-existent).

In summary....

What I loved:
  • They actually tackled infertility, however surface level - Go Friends!
  • They showed how wonderful open adoption can be.
  • America got another opportunity to watch the process (however simple) of adoption, and this hopefully makes it less scary for people.
  • And my favorite part - Monica and Chandler did NOT get pregnant as soon as they "relaxed" or as soon as they adopted. I HATE when movies about infertility end with the couple happily pregnant after just relaxing...uggghhh, gag me! Again, a point for Friends!
What I didn't so much love:
  • The intense pain and grief of infertility was smashed into one scene when the dooming news was shared by the doctor (Jason so eloquently reminds that it IS a comedy, Faith!).
  • There was absolutely no conflict between Monica and Chandler about next steps - in reality, we know that infertility can put a huge wedge between couples, for many, many reasons.
  • The grief that comes with letting go of expectations (and control) and deciding to adopt was not addressed.
  • The birth mom's real experience was totally lost, as was the babies' experience, for that matter.
After writing this, what I've decided is, over all, they did a good job with telling a story with the forum that they had. It is a comedy after all, with lots of story lines. The fact that we, as infertiles and adoptive-parents-to-be, were even a piece of those story lines is definitely a step in the right direction!

So, now I want to know what you think. Do you feel Friends made your story more visible, and therefore more real to people? Or do you feel that it just lessened others' understanding by minimizing everything? Or do you not think this much about your favorite TV shows and just not care...and pretty much think I'm crazy?!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The New Look!

Two posts in one day - wow, you all are sure lucky:)! LOL! Anyway, as you have noticed, I have a new look and I LOVE it! In case you are interested for your blog, mine was done by Kelsey. Click on her name to see her blog and her business. Her button is also on the left side of my page. I can tell you that I contacted her late Friday night and my new blog was up and running today! Amazing! I can also tell you that I am a picky person, and I had a lot of questions, and details that I changed. She was patient and worked with me on every little thing. Again, if you are looking for an awesome look to your blog, for a relatively cheap price, check her out!

P.S. I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your comments. I read them all and they bring a smile to my face. I also loved the names, and I have added a few from your lists to our list:). Thanks again, everyone, for always being there!

One Month

I guess it is time for an update, don't ya' think? Let's see, the biggest update about the nursery is that we ordered our crib and dresser! It should be here after the 19th, and I can't wait to finally have that room started! I am still struggling with fabric decisions for the blanket, but I am only one more fabric away! Then, it will be ready for my dear "Arizona mom" to make - we are so blessed to have her doing this for us. Lord knows I couldn't do it myself:)! I'd like to also share my newest purchase because I'm so dang excited about it:

I have to admit, I'm not normally an "artsy" decorator, and this piece feels artsy to me. But I LOVE it!! It's ok if you hate it though - Jason does!! LOL!! Oh, by the way, it's a "piggy" bank in case you can't tell! I haven't decided if it will go right on the dresser or somewhere on the shelves - which I can't find. Yep, I literally cannot find the kind of black shelves I am looking for! I also found a lamp at Target I like, but still wasn't completely sure, so I added to my registry and we'll see what happens! So, the summary is, we have started, but I'm still lost! I am not a wonderful decorator, so I'm just clumsily finding my way!

In case you all aren't counting, we have now been officially waiting for ONE MONTH. I think the best part of this week was that our social worker (L) emailed me. Our certification order came in, so we are officially certified! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to be good parents because the court said so! How many other parents get to say that?! What was amazing, though, was the empathy that L showed for my impatience. She understood that the wait is hard. She did tell me that they have had some matches lately, so the list is shrinking. She also told me that she has us in mind for a young couple who is looking for a couple who wants a very open relationship and isn't very religious. That's us! Of course, who knows if they would pick us...and they won't be ready to look at profiles for another 4 or 5 months, which means they are very early in their pregnancy. She said she plans on showing us to this couple "if we don't have our baby by then." She also mentioned a couple other birth moms she is considering showing us to. Overall, it's all good news! I just have to learn patience. I hear the wait gets easier after about 2 those of you who are waiting, or who have your babies, agree? Does this ever get easier? I'll update y'all at the two month mark, and let you know if it's gotten any easier for me:).

That is all the updates for now! Keep a close eye out on my blog, as it is getting a MAKEOVER! I am SO excited to unveil the new blog - it is going to be gorgeous! Until then, happy blogging!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Baby Names

Ok, I decided to move away from my typical kinds of posts, to solicit some advice for baby names, because we are struggling! I have surfed the internet and really only have an attention span of about a half hour before I get overwhelmed! That said, Jason and I tend to always have differing opinions:). So, in order to get some good ideas without having to look at thousands of names on the internet, I'd love to hear/read your ideas!

Let's see, my guideline is that I don't want a name that is SO popular that my child is going to have five other children in his/her kindergarten class with the same name. People always remember my name because it is unique, and simple. I've valued that, and I have loved that people comment on my name all the time. So, I want the same for my child, of course:). Jason does not want anything too off the wall, and wants a pretty "normal" sounding name, although he is ok with unique, as long as it's not weird. Not too hard, right? You'd think:)!

I also have it in the back of my mind that our child will have a first mom and dad. If we are close with them, we'd of course like to know their opinion. But, we have to start somewhere. So, PLEASE leave ideas in the comments. Those of you who are family, let us know if there are any names that are sentimental that you would like us to consider. We're all ears! I'm so excited to hear from all of you! Thank you in advance!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Remembering Baby Boy E

It was two years ago today that I heard the words that changed my life. "I'm sorry, your baby does not have a heartbeat." It was two years ago today that I learned that life is unfair and cruel and that bad things do happen to good people. I always knew people said those things, but life taught me a hard lesson that day. And it did not get easier. It does for some people. They go on to get pregnant again, have healthy babies, move on in their life. And, while the pain was excruciating, I thought I would be able to do that, too. But, since that fateful day, we have experienced over 2 years (and counting) of infertility, and another loss. So, our lives were truly and fully changed on April 4, 2008. I'd like to take a moment today and remember our first child. He was a light in our lives, if only briefly.

Our only pictures of our son. At 11.5 weeks, he only measured 7.5 weeks.

How do you love a person who never got to be, Or try to envision a face you never got to see?

How do you mourn the death of one who never got to live, when there is nothing to feel good about and nothing to forgive?

I love you, my little baby, my companion of the night. Wandering through my lonely hours, beautiful and bright.

What does it mean to die before you ever were born, to live the lovely night of life but never see the dawn?

Ah! My little baby, you lived like anyone!

Life's a burst of joy and pain.

And like yours, it's done.

I love you, my little baby, just as if you'd lived for years. No more, no less, I think of you, the Angel of my tears.

-Author Unknown

Mommy loves you, my sweet angel. Godspeed, little man.