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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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“.

 

 

Memory Lane

I caught myself watching one of my own memories today as if it were a movie.  The memory was so clear, I could feel it, touch it and smell it. It was a memory of a time shortly before everything went wrong.

I was almost two months pregnant.  It was my first pregnancy.  My husband and I were both glowing with excitement.  My husband was on board with starting a family but it wasn’t until I was actually pregnant that we both realized how much it really meant to him.

We were at a barbecue at a friend’s rooftop pool.  It was a beautiful warm day. The sunlight was bouncing off the water. I didn’t swim, but I put my toes in the water.  The view was amazing.  Everything felt perfect.  When our friends were all swimming, my husband and I had some time alone poolside.  We sat on a beach towel on the deck.  He looked so happy.  He was actually tearing up.  He put his hand on my belly.

“I was thinking”, he said, “that after we have this little chicken, we could adopt a sibling for that chicken”.

For him to say that meant so much to both of us.  It meant that we could have more than one child. It meant that we hadn’t abandoned the idea of adoption even though I was pregnant.  It meant  that his ideal family was based on the model of his own family.  Our life was really beginning.  We had so much to look forward to.  Both of our dreams were coming true.

It was hard for me to “watch” this memory.  This is the part of my life that I now have to file under “before”.  It seems so long ago.  I feel like we were different people. I have since lost three babies.  I have cut friends out of my lives who have had babies since.  I have watched the world move on as my world seems to stand still.  I have been living in pain. My life has revolved around fertility treatments.  Adoption has evolved from a way to grow our family to quite possibly the only way we’ll be able to grow our family.  Our sex life has been scheduled to the minute and full of the fear of a miss-timed broken pregnancies.  I miss my life.  I wish I could go back to the pool and dip my toes in the water and not worry about anything but a sunburn.

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IVF: The Famous Two Week Wait/ A Spot of Bother

I knew the TWW would be hard.  Even without IVF, the waiting period is always hard.  With IVF it’s even harder.  There is so much money at stake and there’s the fact that I know that my embryos are inside of me.  Instead of waiting to see if I GET pregnant, I’m waiting to see if I STAY pregnant.

It started off ok.  I was told to rest for the first four days.  I took these two weeks off of work because I knew I’d be nervous and I knew it would be best for me to take it easy.

Everything was going well.  I even managed to stay off of google. When my husband was home, he brought me everything I needed.

On Tuesday, my mom came over to bring me to my acupuncture appointment so that I wouldn’t have to take the bus.

On Tuesday morning, before my appointment, I noticed some spotting.  My Twitter network, my friends and even Dr. Google told me that this was likely implantation.  My past traumas with spotting just made me feel scared.

My naturopath confirmed that it was likely implantation bleeding.  She said that “most women are so excited about this”.  I just sobbed. It was just a reminder that everyone else’s positive pregnancy experiences don’t belong to me.  I’ve had lots of “great signs” during my pregnancies, I just don’t have a baby.

It’s now Monday.  Almost a week later and I’m still spotting.  It’s not a lot of blood.  It’s really just a couple of spots per day,  but it’s enough to terrify me.  It’s enough to have kept me on the sofa for the past week.

I’ve taken two home pregnancy tests.  They both came up negative.  I know that my official test isn’t until Thursday and that there is “always that chance” but quite frankly, I’m not feeling it right now.

I’m crushed.  I’ve lost hope.  I feel ripped off.  I feel like I didn’t even get to enjoy my two week weight by hoping.  I spent my two week wait trying not to bleed.

This is it.  We agreed to one cycle of IVF and now it’s over.  I know – I could be surprised by my official test on Thursday and then I’ll look back at this and roll my eyes, but for now, I’m feeling it’s over.  Even if I am lucky enough to get a positive test on Thursday, I’ll be terrified because of all of the spotting.

I still don’t understand why this is happening.  I don’t understand how I got pregnant so easily with broken babies and now I can’t get pregnant at all – even when they put a fertilized embryo right inside of me.  In the next couple of weeks I’ll have some decisions to make.  Do I go on birth control? Do we risk another miscarriage?

I also have to figure out a way to get through going back to work, and worse, get through another childless Christmas.

I have to get back to focusing on the adoption but also mourn the loss of the biological children that I won’t have.  A rough time ahead.  I’ll report my official results on Thursday.

(I wanted to post a picture, the doctor gave us a print out of the transfer ultrasound.  It’s a picture of those embryos inside of me.  My husband took the photo. I know he’s trying to protect me.)

The Other New Year’s Eve

I’ve been a very quiet blogger this summer.  I took a break from everything. I was off work.  I didn’t take any courses.  I didn’t see any doctors.  I didn’t make any decisions.

It’s been a good summer.  My husband by some miracle of timing (his industry is usually busiest in the summer) had time off as well.  We have spent a LOT of time together. We really needed it.  We needed down time.  We needed time just to “be”.

I’ll be doing some catch-up blogs to fill in those summer gaps.  My head is bursting with ideas and things that I need to write about, but it didn’t seem right to lock myself away in a room and type about sad things when I could be in a room with my hubbie getting cuddles or out enjoying the sun.

I’ve stuck to my “get healthy and exercise” plan.  I’ve lost a total of ZERO pounds, but I’m looking significantly “less pregnant” and my fitness level is back to that of a non-slug.  The “less pregnant” part is important to me.  So many people know I’m trying to have a baby so when my tummy gets to bloated I start getting those belly looks (one eyebrow up…I wonder if she’s… – nope just hormones and fat).

Labour day weekend starts tomorrow.  Right after that is back to school.  My summer of bliss is over.  For a teacher, back to school is the “other” New Year’s Eve.

This year marks the third “back to school” since my first miscarriage.  I barely made it through the first one.  My first loss was in August.  I’d had the whole year planned, I knew when I would be taking my maternity leave.  I knew when I would announce my pregnancy to the parents.  I knew which reports I would write and which ones I would pass on to the replacement teacher.  That’s the problem with teachers. We’re planners.

The second “back to school”, a few months after my third loss was also tough.  I resented being there.   I felt like I should have been off that year taking care of my baby (number one OR number two).  At the very least I should have still been pregnant with my third and planning a mid-year departure.  I never would have imagined that I would go that whole school year without even getting pregnant again.

Now I’m at the third “back to school”.  I’m not pregnant.  I haven’t been pregnant for over a year. I haven’t gotten a portfolio in the mail telling me that the adoption agency has found a match for us and that we’ll be travelling soon to pick up the squirt.

Nothing.  This is tough on a planner.

I’m also facing other back to school dread.  Two friends on staff are pregnant.  They’re not the big pregnant ready to leave any day.  They’re both just pregnant enough that I’ll be watching their bellies grow.  I’m dreading the next “batch” as well.   All of the young crew who weren’t ready to start a family yet when I first started my struggles are now happily settled in and will likely start reproducing soon.  Again, sometimes I wish I worked in construction!

So happy other new year to me.  I really hope this is my year. Sorry new crop of students, but I hope I get to leave you early this year.

(this is NOT me)

(this is NOT me)