My Not News

The adoption process moves very slowly. The wait seems like forever, especially because the wait to have a child started way before the adoption process ever began.

Here’s my sort-of-not-really news.  We’ve moved up on the list.  In December of 2012 we were #25.  By July 2013, we had moved up to #12.  Now, in March of 2014 we are #6 on the list.  That’s my news.  Being a Special Needs adoption, the list isn’t as straight forward as a regular list.  For example, if there is something on our “would consider” medical need list that comes up before someone ahead of us, we could jump the queue. The woman at the agency (the sweetest woman in the world) told me that there are two people on the list above us who have specified “girl only”.  If by some miracle more boys come up, that means we’re actually #4 on the list.

Hearing the single digit numbers got me excited.  Things are moving. There is hope. The conversation with the agency brought me to tears.  I can do this!  But then reality set in.

Optimistically speaking (I’m trying to be optimistic), the soonest we would be matched would be August or September.  That is two full years after starting the adoption process.  There is also a chance that we could wait another year before being matched. The long wait also means having to renew our home study, re-do our police, medical and financial checks and re-submit our updated application to Vietnam.

I’ve also just learned that the time from match to travel can be from 6-12 months.  This broke my heart.  Even if we get our optimistic September match it could feasibly be the following September by the time we meet our child.  I’ll still need to get through at least another Christmas, school year, couple of birthdays, Mother’s Days, friends having more babies. There goes my optimism.  It’s just so much time.

For all of those positive thinkers out there, I need you.  I need your pep talks, your encouragement, your reminders that I CAN do this and that it will be worth it, your positives vibes to match me with a boy so that I can move up the list, your hope that it won’t take so long.

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Double Bagging It.

I need to write about my boobs.  My body is playing tricks on me and it’s driving me mad.

Since our failed cycle of IVF, we have officially stopped trying to conceive. Because we’ve had so many losses, it’s not really safe to try on our own (without medication).  I’m not ready to risk another loss at this time.  Never say never, but right now we’re not trying.  I’m trying to focus on our adoption and just hoping it goes through quickly.

By “not trying” I don’t mean that I’m on the pill, we’re not using birth control at all (it seems WAY too counter intuitive), to put it politely, we’re using the “withdrawal method”.  I know this isn’t 100% but that’s a risk we are willing to take.

Today is the eleventh day of symptoms.  My boobs have been SO swollen and sore.  Seriously, I’ve been wearing TWO BRAS (or as I put it on twitter, “double bagging it”)!  I have acne on my cheeks.  I’m tired, nauseous and grumpy.  These are all symptoms that I’ve had in my previous pregnancies.  These are symptoms I was hoping for during my IVF cycle.

I’m trying not to worry too much about it (yeah right). I’m doing my best to stay away from Dr. Google.   The chances of a pregnancy are so very slim. It’s just so frustrating  and physically uncomfortable. Maybe this is the proof I needed that my body needed a rest.  In the past couple of years I have been pregnant three times, done several medicated cycles, done an IUI and IVF. I’m sure my hormones are a mess.

I’m hoping that time will allow my body to go back to normal.  Constant pregnancy symptoms are making it really hard for me to stop thinking about trying to conceive.  It also makes it hard to put all I have been through into the past.  Let’s hope I can feel “normal” again soon…at least physically.

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Anniversary of a due date

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the due date of my third pregnancy.  My baby would be turning one.  My good friend was so excited when my doctor told me the date because it is also her son’s birthday.  This is the baby that I carried at my wedding. This is the one my doctor was so sure of.  My hCH levels were so high she originally speculated that it was twins.  This was the third time I was pregnant.  It was the second heartbeat that I got to hear. We got to keep a print out of the ultrasound.  I cried for joy.  I was so sure that three times would be a charm.  This was also the LAST time I was pregnant.  Since this third loss I haven’t even been able to conceive – not with monitoring, medication, IUI or IVF.

Due dates have been hard on me.  This time it isn’t AS bad.  Maybe I’m finally starting to get numb to it.  I’ll never be able to get those dates out of my head.  March 14, June 26, January 18.  These days will always represent what was lost and what could have been.  All I can hope for is that every year it hurts a little less.

A Week of Tears

So many tears this week.  All for different reasons.  Here is my pity party list – I need to get it out of my system!

1. Tears of Joy Quickly Turn Into Grieving the Loss of Having Biological Children

I learned recently that the younger brother of a former student (and now family friend) has been diagnosed with a form of Leukemia.  It broke my heart to learn this and a community of support has been created for the little fella.  The boy needs a bone marrow transplant and last week they found a match!  Even more exciting is that the match is his older brother (my former student).  I was so relieved that I cried.  Then I cried some more.  Then I cried because I realized that through adoption I’ll very likely only have one child (if I’m lucky enough to even get one).  No sibling for support and definitely no genetic match.  I know this is such a stretch, but for some reason this is where my mind went.  I guess that’s just a symptom of living with infertility and pregnancy loss.  I never know what’s going to set me off.

2. The Birthday Party

On Saturday night the plan was to go out with a group of friends for a friend’s birthday drinks. Most of these friends are single gay men. It’s safe to say that a typical night out with these guys means freedom from the world of babies and family life.  I put on a cute dress, loaded on the mascara (something I don’t do when potential crying is on the schedule) and headed out with my hubbie to meet them.  We got to the restaurant and ordered the first round of drinks. A few sips in, my evening changed.  My friend and her husband came in with their 7 week old baby.  I think I broke some kind of world record for fastest downing of a dirty martini.  It took everything in my power not to cry or run away.  Instead I went pale and started to shake.  My friend was very kind and carful when she saw me. I’m lucky for that.  She suffered a significant loss a year ago and understands my pain.  She parked the baby at the other end of the table with her husband and talked to me about non baby stuff.  I thank her for that.  It was still hard though.  There was a lot of baby talk. “She has your hair”, “she has your eyes” (more grieving of my bio child – these comments sting). There was at the table breastfeeding (something else to let go of). There was “you look so amazing, I can’t believe you had a baby 7 weeks ago” (I’m still so bloated that I  look like I’m pregnant). It was a rough night and my only escape was to drink too much.  Thanks to all the drinks, Sunday was a rough day too!

3. Seriously????? It’s MY turn!!!! 

While nursing a hangover (something I haven’t experienced for YEARS), I got a message from my aunt.  My younger cousin is pregnant again.  All pregnancy announcements are painful right now (and maybe forever), but this one hurt even worse.  My cousin (who I used to be very close with) was pregnant with her first when I was pregnant the first time.  Our babies would have been a few months apart.  I still have a little onesie that she gave me in a box in the basement.  We were so excited to be having babies together.   I lost my baby the weekend of her shower.  Ouch.  Hearing that she is pregnant again only added to my “what if” list.  Would I be having my second baby now? Would we be starting the adoption process for our second?   What makes it worse (for her and me) is that she’s not even with her husband anymore. He’s returned , on her request after years of fighting to his country of origin and isn’t expected to return. This just goes back to the stork distribution problem. Why can’t I have a baby when I’m SO ready while other people can get pregnant when it’s unplanned and not the right time in their lives? I no the answer is “there’s no reason”.  It still stings though.  When I got the news I cried.  No, I sobbed.  I went up to my bed and sobbed for hours. I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t be consoled.  This news coming the day after seeing another baby was too much for me.  I was mourning my first baby all over again. It all came right back up the front. All the pain, all of the losses, all of the disappointments.  I’m sure I cried because I needed to.  I’m so tired of crying. When will this hurt less?

A Look Back and a Plan for the New Year

The last few years have been very difficult. Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, Mother’s Day even Halloween always remind me of all that I have lost.  For years now I have suffered through “the worst Christmas ever”, only to have it trumped the following year.  On New Year’s Eves I have put the pain of the previous year behind  looking forward to a “fresh start” only to face another difficult series of events.

Christmas was hard.  It’s impossible not to think about what might have been, what Christmas in my home SHOULD be like, the celebrations that are happening  in the homes of my friends and their new families and where we could have gone on vacation if we hadn’t have spent our money on a failed IVF.  I got through it.  There were tears, arguments with my husband and loneliness but I got through it.

I got through New Year’s Eve too.  I thought a lot about last year’s New Year’s Eve reflection.   I knew last year that 2013 wasn’t going to be a good one.  I wasn’t being pessimistic, I was being realistic.  This year is a little different.  This year there is actually a chance.   Not a guarantee, but at least a chance.

My husband and I were approved for adoption over a year ago.  The original estimated wait time was 18 months.  The numbers have gone up and down since then, but it does mean that REALISTICALLY, we could be matched with our child this year.

As frustrating as the fertility treatment fails were, I’m glad that I did them.  I can say with confidence that I tried “all the ways“.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not mourning the loss of that potential biological child, but it does mean that I need to shift my focus towards the adoption.

Unlike fertility treatments, focusing on adoption alone feels much less productive.  There are no calendars or early morning appointments.  I had to consider what “focusing on adoption” meant to me.    I think it’s going to mean the following:

  • getting into shape to prepare to run after a potentially terrified running toddler (I’ve heard stories about this from other adoptive parents)
  • taking care of myself, continuing acupuncture and mourning my losses so that I’m ready to be a happy parent
  • continuing and possibly increasing my involvement with the adoption agency. ( I currently write for the newsletter)
  • saving money so if I get my referral the trip to Vietnam and time off work won’t put me into enormous debt.

That’s a start. If the adoption doesn’t go through this year, none of those actions will be a waste. They’re all positive things.

My husband wants me to start considering that our life may not include children.  I’m not ready to think about that.  For now I have to assume that I will have a child. I just “can’t choose when“.

 

 

ALL THE WAYS!

Well I STARTED my Christmas Eve with a good attitude. My day started with laughs and smiles. Then I made the critical error of trying to perform a seeming trigger-free task. I went to the convenience store to wish the owner, a friend of the whole neighbourhood, a happy retirement (today is his last day) and to buy recycling bags for the Christmas wrap (we have some presents under the tree).
During my warm chat with “Harry” from “Harry’s Variety” he glanced at my belly and asked excitedly, “when is baby coming”.

Deep breath, swallow those tears, keep up that fake smile, decide how to deal with this.

I decided to go with an approach that has worked in the past. The truth. For an old man to whom English is a second language he was actually pretty interested to talk about it. I told him there was no baby in there but that we were waiting for a child through adaption. He asked what the problem was? Why couldn’t we have a baby? I told him they just wouldn’t stay in there. He asked why I don’t try ALL THE WAYS? ( he really emphasized that one). I explained that we tried ALL THE WAYS (emphasis right back at ya) but to no avail. We moved on to talk more about adoption. He’ll be watching for his new neighbour to arrive.

Merry Christmas and happy retirement Harry. Now time for a little cry.

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Now what?

Just a quick update because it’s still a little raw to write about.  My pregnancy test was negative.  IVF didn’t work for me.  It feels like a loss in so many ways.  My heart is broken.  Now I need to figure out how to move on.  Today I have an acupuncture appointment and lunch with a great friend planned.   I guess that’s a start.

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