Nothing Happened.

I got the results back from all of my testing. A good friend came with me to ask questions and take notes. I’m so lucky to have the friends that I do.
The results of all the tests? – Nothing.
If nothing is wrong, why is everything so wrong?
The information package given to me by the clinic says,
“Regardless of how extensive the investigation of recurrent pregnancy loss might be, more than 50% will still be classified as “unexplained”.
I knew this, but I was really hoping to be in that other 50%.
The doctor that I saw today was positive. The next step is diagnostic cycle monitoring. They’re hoping to see if there are abnormalities in the maturation of the eggs. There are treatments for this.
Why didn’t they have me do the cycle monitoring already!?! Why am I pushing back trying yet another month (or longer)!?! The clinic closed for the Christmas holiday -this means no “trying” until at least January. (Which they seem fine with even though two sentences before they said that at my age, 37, they’ll need to move quickly and more aggressively).
I know it’s only a couple more months, but I feel like this is such a long time. So much time has passed already. Maybe it’s the wrong attitude, but I’m forever trying to fill that void left in my belly. I know I can’t get my babies back, but I’d like to get SOMEONE in there!
Once we can “try” again, the approach will be baby Asprin (to thin my blood) and Progesterone. This baby Asprin must be pretty special because Progesterone alone didn’t work last time. It was so hard for me to listen to the doctor telling me the routine…day 18 start Progesterone, day 28 pregnancy test, 6-7 weeks ultrasound. It’s hard for me to hear this because I’ve done it. How many times am I going to go through this?
So here I am. Still without answers. Still on hold. Still hurting. Nothing.

I have to laugh to keep myself from crying.

I have to laugh to keep myself from crying. Here is an immature egg.

Step One!

Step One

Yay! Our home study is complete! What does this mean? It means that our adoption practitioner now sends our file to the adoption agency, who then sends it to the ministry who will then take 4 weeks to 4 months to approve it. On approval (if we are approved), they will send it BACK to our agency who will then translate our documents into Vietnamese and send them to Vietnam. Once our file is sent to Vietnam, and if our file is approved in Vietnam, we wait. Our expected wait time is 18 months to 2 years. (People tell me this will move quickly, but right now it feels like a lifetime. We will likely be adopting a toddler. This baby may already be born!)
In the meantime, there are more forms to fill out, letters to get from accountants and then all we can do is wait.
Step One is another small victory that I will celebrate.
(Now can I fast forward?)

Everything is Wrong (My Pity Party)

This is a “pity party” but sometimes I just need to get things out of my system.
I got news the other night that my brother, my younger brother, is going to have a baby. I found out by accident, when a friend on-line wished my brother’s wife a happy birthday to her and her bump.
I cried all night.
I phoned my friend and cried to her (thank goodness for amazing, understanding friends).
I cried on my own the rest of the night, then I cried myself to sleep. It’s two days later and I’m still seriously moping.
Why is this making me so sad? Why can’t I just be happy that I’m getting a new niece or nephew? I’m just not ready.
All I can think about is how much has been lost. I know I shouldn’t dwell. I know it’s not healthy to live in the “what ifs”, but sometimes it’s hard to block them out.
Here is what’s making me so sad about it (my pity party list of shame):

• My brother and I don’t see much of each other. If any of my babies had lived, we would have babies similar in age, we’d have a shared experience. Now I won’t even be able to stand being around their baby or enjoying his wife’s pregnancy. This is a huge loss.

• My brother has my genes and his wife is Asian (like my husband). Their baby is going to look so much like how our babies would have looked. This hurts.

• I’m now going to be officially the only person in my extended family who doesn’t have a family. I know it’s not a competition. It just hurts.

• My grandma is getting older. She just had a health scare. She’s 95 years old. She’s knit clothing and blankets for all of her great grandchildren. I’m so sad that she may not ever meet my children. Mine (if I’m lucky enough to have or adopt any) will be the ones she never met. (This one deserves its own post…that will be coming soon)

• I don’t want to isolate myself from anyone else, but it’s the only thing helping me get through.

• I’m the older sister. I want to be the one to pass on advice and hand me downs.

I’m just so angry. I feel robbed. I feel ripped off. I’m so tired of being sad. I’m so tired of the pain. I’m so tired of not knowing. I miss my babies. I’m so sad that the loss isn’t over. I’ve lost more than just babies, I’ve lost friends, sleep, energy, joy, strength and I just keep losing.

Today I saw my friend with the twins walking down the street. I couldn’t face it. I crossed the street and hid. This is not me.

I ask myself, “How I can make this stop?” With support of friends, my husband and counselling I can make it better, but I really think that the only thing that will make any of this even close to ok will be to become a mother. Even that will never be the same.

(The pity party out of my system for now. Time to find some pleasant distractions.)

“Nothing” to fear

In just over a week, I go back to the clinic to get the results of this last round of poking and prodding.  This is the clinic that SPECIALIZES in multiple pregnancy loss. If someone is going to find an answer, it’s going to be them.

Usually, when getting results from a doctor, the answer “nothing is wrong” is exactly what one wants to hear.  In this case, it’s my biggest fear.

The best-case scenario for me would be to sit down and have the doctor tell me that they’ve figured out what has been causing the losses.  That “pill A” or “procedure B” should take care of the problem and yes, I will be able to carry a baby to term.

Another scenario would be to be told that something is wrong.  That I will never be able to carry a baby to term and that I need to stop trying or I will suffer losses again and again.   This scenario would be heartbreaking.  I would mourn the loss of my chance to have biological children. The only positive is that at least a line would be drawn, I would have my answer, and I could focus on the adoption and maybe even future adoptions for an even bigger family.

If they find “nothing” there are just so many unknowns.  Will I keep trying (I know already the answer is yes)?  How many losses will I have to suffer before I’d want to stop trying?  How many losses would be my husband’s limit?  I hear so many stories of multiple losses: 8, 10, 13 and more.  Where is my line?  How much emotional and physical energy can I give to this? If I stop trying, how will I get it out of my head that “the next one” would have been the one that made it.

All of this is hypothetical.  I know I shouldn’t worry until I have something to worry about.  I don’t know how I’ll really react until I really get the news.

My friend wished for me that I could “fast forward”.  This is exactly what I want.  Limbo is a difficult place to live.

 

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Baby Wipes and Ham

My life feels like an emotional mine field sometimes.  I can go for days at a time when I feel positive and I smile.  I can go for days without crying! (This is a victory.  It’s taken me months to get to this point).

Sometimes something unexpected can set me off.   I ran into one of these triggers this morning.

My husband works in the film industry and often brings home random things that would have otherwise been thrown out like food, paper towels, paper or things like art supplies or rubber bins that he thinks I can use at my work.

He usually gets home late from work, I see him when I’m already in bed.

This morning, when my husband was still asleep, I came downstairs to find several bags on the dining room table.  Excited to see what he had brought home for me, I looked in the bags.  They were all full of baby wipes.

This did me in.I cried my whole way to work.  I cried the first time someone asked me “How are you?”I cried because had my pregnancies gone right I would have needed all these baby wipes.  I cried because I thought he might have brought them home to give to some of our friends who needed them.  I cried because I really wish that baby wipes belonged in my house right now.

I sent my husband a text as soon as I got to work.

“Please get those baby things out of our house.  They make me sad.”

Worried that I had over-reacted, I was relieved when he wrote back,

“I understand.  Sorry I didn’t think about the baby part.  I thought you might be able to use them at work”.

I was relived that he understood.  Relieved that they weren’t for other babies. Relieved that he took them out of the house.

I spoke to a friend about my “trigger”.  My friend recently lost her mother and told me about her own silly triggers.  She recalled sobbing in the grocery store when she saw a ham because she didn’t know how to cook one and would normally have consulted her mother about it.

It’s always nice to feel like I’m not alone when things like this happen.  Life is full of baby wipes and ham and the best way to get through it is with a little support from friends.

A Picture of Parenthood

To apply to adopt internationally, my husband and I were not required to create a profile or write a “Dear Birthmother” letter.  In our case, the agency will use the information in our home study and any insight from communications with us to create the best match with a child.

When adopting locally, the process is much different.

To prepare for the A.R.E. (see previous post), my husband and I had to create a profile.  We weren’t sure that local adoption was the route we wanted to take, but we didn’t want to turn up empty handed and close a door on ourselves.

Creating the profile was a very interesting challenge.  It’s a strange combination of employment cover letter and an on-line dating profile but with way more weight behind it and way more heart and soul.

I have heard from friends about getting photo shoots of themselves rolling in fall leaves and playing in the park to help to create an image of fun, welcoming parents.  Being a “just in case” profile, we didn’t want to go as far as a photo shoot (this time).  Instead, we went through every photo ever taken of us to find our most “family friendly”, warm, “parent-ish” but also fun, most “ourselves photos. This was a little bit of a challenge but also a heart-warming experience. It was so nice to go through all of our photos, to see all the happy times we have had together and how much we have changed in just a few years.  It was a really good reminder of the positive things in my life at a time when life has been feeling negative and full of loss.

We managed to pull together some photos and write up some general information that painted a truthful and positive picture of us as a couple, us as potential parents.

I have to say; seeing it all on paper really confirmed to me that we’ll be great parents.  I was convinced by my own words.

Overwhelmed at the Adoption Resource Exchange

Last weekend, my husband and I went to our first A.R.E.

In Ontario, there are events called the Adoption Resource Exchange (the A.R.E.).  I had heard about the event, but didn’t really understand what it was all about.  I knew that it was a “trade-show” style showcase of waiting children who are wards of the crown and eligible to be adopted from all over Ontario.

My husband and I have already applied to adopt from Vietnam, but we didn’t want to close any doors.  If there are children close to home, it’s worth a look.  We created a profile and went in with open minds and hearts.

The A.R.E. was very overwhelming.

It was a full day event.  The format of the event seemed strange, but worked well and made sense.

The day began with videos in a large auditorium.  The videos were short video profiles of waiting children.  We were given a folder that included a list of the children’s’ names (in some cases pseudonyms) in order to record any notes.

The videos were very difficult to watch.  The waiting children profiled included everything from children with severe disabilities, children with F.A.S.D or who had been born addicted to drugs, large sibling groups and even teenagers.  Some of the children had been shuffled around the system for several years.

After the first set of videos, we were given time to browse the “booths” (booths set up trade-show style with pictures and profiles of the children and their social worker available to answer questions).  There was also time provided to spend in the “reading room” where we could browse through a large binder of child profiles.  The profiles went in-depth into the children’s’ backgrounds, personalities and any health issues.

There were three sessions like this. It was heartbreaking, exhausting and eye-opening.

By the third set of videos, my husband and I really had to question what we could handle and how we see our future family.   We had to remind ourselves that we were there to start a family, not to “save” children.  This is a realization that is hard to swallow.

The booths were a great help.  Being able to ask specific questions to a child’s caseworker can make things much clearer than trying to interpret the technical language of a child’s profile.  There were children there that we did seriously consider, but had to take a step back and make sure that this is what we really wanted to do and that we weren’t just getting swept away in this heart-wrenching moment. After some very serious discussions, we walked away this time.  We did not submit any proposals; we decided to stick with plan A.  This was a very difficult decision.  All of these children will always remain in my heart and mind. I will always question whether or not we made the right decision. (Even if we had submit our profile, we may not have even been selected – I know this decision goes beyond that of just me and my husband).

There were so many prospective adoptive parents at the A.R.E.  This made me feel good.  This gave me some hope that there is a chance of forever families being created and of the right matches being made.

I know I’ll have the right family for me… I just can’t choose when.