Friday, April 30, 2010
Pregnant Women Are Smug by Garfunkel and Oates.
Yeah, so maybe my sense of humor is a little irreverant. I blame my mother. (Not sure why - just seems like the appropriate thing to do in a time like this.) And just a little more of my irreverance...
When we were pursuing medical treatments, my husband and I came up with names for each other (this was actually spawned by the movie Juno when Rainn Wilson calls Ellen Page "Fertile Mertile").
So I called Justin "Slow-Swim Jim."
And he called me "Menopause Roz" and "No-Ovulate Kate."
I still have coworkers who call me "Kate." And I kind of love it. :)
Thursday, April 29, 2010
My best friend from high school.
One of my current best friends.
At least five coworkers/wives of coworkers (also good friends).
Lots of friends from the blogosphere.
I know a lot of infertile people. I probably know more people than this - but I'm not aware of their battle. There are different reasons for their infertility. Endometriosis. PCOS. Cysts. Tumors. Sperm quality/quantity issues. And the dark unknown.
There are different ways these women and their husbands handle infertility. Keep trying. Medical procedures. IVF. Adoption. Coping and acceptance. Childless lives.
Many of them have children now. That's such a blessing. Such a blessing. But it doesn't make the worry and struggle of infertility go away. (From experience though, children do help!)
I am surrounded by strong, beautiful women fighting a dreary battle. (Random side note: the depression levels in infertile women is the same as in cancer patients.)
One in seven couples in infertile. If you're one of them, you are in good company (not to brag...heh, heh).
This poem is dedicated to all of those who've are traversing (or have traversed) the black terrain of infertility. See the orignal posting of the poem here. (And if you ever need someone to "talk" to, someone to come out of the infertility closet to, email me, leave a comment, just get in touch.)
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I suppose I'll give you a brief glimpse to whet your whistle.
Chances are, you know someone who is infertile. It is a painful situation and as a society we are woefully uninformed about how to support our infertile loved ones.
Here are 11 "don'ts" to avoid as you support your loved ones.
- Don't Tell Them to Relax
- Don't Minimize the Problem
- Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
- Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
- Don't Play Doctor
- Don't Be Crude
- Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
- Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
- Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition
- Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
(in the infertility world, infertility is often referred to as IF.)
Today, I’ve made my own list. I’ve learned in my experience that a lot more people than I ever realized struggle with infertility—and much more silently than I ever did. And just knowing you’re not alone helps a lot. So here are my “What IF’s”. They are personal and they aren’t pretty, so please be kind. These aren’t questions meant to be answered, they are just meant to share my journey—with those of you who struggle and those of you who love someone who struggles.
- What if my husband blames me?
- What if I can never stay at home with my children because having me work is the only way to afford our child(ren)?
- What if we tried to have children sooner?
- What if I hadn’t felt so superior about getting our lives so ready (school finished, home purchased, careers on track) before trying to have a baby?
- What if we had married different people—would we still be going through this?
- What if I stopped trying too soon?
- What if I get pregnant when I’m 40 and am no longer ready for it?
- What if there really is a difference in how you love an adopted child and a biological child?
- What if I am always annoyed when other women complain about their pregnancies?
- What if I am so wrapped up in my own pain that I ignore or misjudge the pain of others?
- What if our child(ren) resent(s) the measures we had to take to build our family?
- What if I never have 4+ children I dreamed of?
- What if we lose our testimonies in the midst of this darkness?
- What if our biological child would be the one grandbaby that would look like a Hays?
- What if I’ve actually been pregnant before—for a very brief period of time—and never known it?
- What if I put all the energy, money, and science necessary into becoming pregnant and I miscarry?
- What if I had control over my fertility and the size and spacing of my family? What if I didn’t have to rely on medical treatments and the choices of birth mothers?
- What if I don’t want to try anymore?
- What if I’m really missing out on something amazing by never experiencing pregnancy?
- What if my child discovers the depth of my sorrow because of infertility, yet never realizes how grateful I am for that journey because it brought her to me?
Today was dubbed "Boobquake" Day. Did you miss the memo? You can catch up on it here. A Muslim religious leader claims that female immodesty is the cause of earthquakes. So today was dubbed Boobquake to scientfically test the theory. Thousands of women wore revealing clothing hoping to make the ground rumble.
I'm kind of disappointed that nothing happened. I mean, think about it. If my breasts actually caused natural disasters, I would have a kind of power that only characters in Marvel comics could dream of. I could threaten my husband to take out the trash or else. We wouldn't have to worry about Iran's nuclear weapons policy. Just line up a bunch of topless women on the border and get the ground a shakin'.
If you didn't know about Boobquake and you want to participate, I'm sure we can extend the event for another day. Maybe natural disasters need more than one day to form. Or maybe we'll create some aftershocks. If nothing else, you can dress in something sexy and let the girls out for a little air.
Either way, it's a good day for breasts.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Now that spring has finally graced Idaho (hope I'm not jinxing it) I feel like I can answer this question without ire. :)
I grew up fifteen miles from where I live now. And, yes, it snowed where I lived. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes not. I have pictures of snowdrifts twice as high as me and I can remember many brown, ugly winters. The snowfall in Idaho is unpredictable. But you can always bet they'll be cold and long.
I think the snow is beautiful and I love nothing more than a white Christmas and downy drifts of glistening snow. I love the peaceful feeling that only comes with a fresh snowfall at night. There's magic in it. Romance. I even love hibernating during a nasty blizzard. Heck, I don't even mind driving in the snow. But the one thing I don't care for is playing in the snow.
Living within a couple hours drive of many world-renowned ski resorts, you'd think I would've picked up on a little winter fun. Not so. I went snow boarding my first (and only) time just five years ago. It was fun, don't get me wrong, and I'm glad I did it, but I obviously haven't been dying to get back to the slopes. I've also gone cross-country skiing a couple times. It's more frustrating than not - I can't help but feel like Bambi trying to cross that frozen pond with my skis getting all crossed and falling down every couple of yards. But the views are spectacular.
As a kid, I played in the snow more. I made snowmen and forts. I played in drifts until I couldn't feel my feet. I distinctly remember a particular snowman. Or, rather, a snow bunny. My friend Faye and I had spent a Saturday afternoon molding and sculpting this ice creature and we were pretty pleased with it. Then a boy from across the street, Adam, came over and destroyed it. And we were destroyed too. I imagine we went into my house to cry and fuss. I don't remember exactly. But somehow my mother found out about what Adam did.
She marched herself across the street, knocked on the neighbors' door and tracked Adam down. She demanded that he rebuild our snow bunny. She was quite livid, and quite embarrassing. But underneath the "embarrassment," I'm glad she did it. I'm glad she stuck up for me, even over something so meaningless and transitory as a snow bunny.
And I remember watching, rather guiltily, as a disinterested Adam and his dedicated father rebuild the snow bunny in my front yard.
I haven't done anything in the snow in quite awhile. I don't even own a proper pair of snow boots or snow gloves. Or even a proper snow coat. (Hey, wool pea coats are warm and fashionable. Who needs to look like a plasticized marshmallow in the winter?) But I know that in a short while - possibly even this coming winter - I will be introducing my child to the wonders of a snow-covered world. I better get shopping.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
And right now my dear brother's wife is in labor adn we can't wait to see their new daughter. I have the privelege of watching their 5 year old girl and we've had a lot of fun.
Yay for babies!
P.S. Just read a text that my new niece was born 45 minutes ago. She is 6 lb 13 oz with red hair and my brother caught her. So excited. If I didn't have little children sleeping in my house, I would dash over to the hospital right now!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Add one bored to death work day.
Sprinkle in bleeding blisters caused by seriously cute but seriously painful summer wedges
Generously apply one bizarrely fussy baby who missed a nap and cried inconsolably for hours on end
Mix it up with the first day of a diet irritation (no sugar, no caffeine = headache)
Finish with a car that has been dealt a deathblow by a blown gasket and the imminent fun of trying to afford another used car, which will cost considerably more than it would've a year ago thanks to Obama's Cash for Clunkers program which depleted the shopping pool of used cars
Garnish with the realization that the new transmission we put in said dead car two months ago isn't even paid off yet.
Sprinkle with the dread of driving my brother's old, scary stick shift truck to work for who knows how long
Finish with a dash of depression over using freelance money and tax return money to secure a new car instead of paying off our financed adoption as planned
Combine ingredients and agitate thoroughly. Let stew for an entire evening.
Monday, April 19, 2010
But I serious look like a deranged psychopath in them.
I don't own a pair. Seriously, I wouldn't unleash that on the world. But I thought about buying some today. I am need of new sunglasses. My beloved cheap Wal-Mart sunglasses are getting too embarrassing to wear. A couple of the rhinestones have fallen out (yep, I said rhinestones) and tortoise-shell finish (these glasses are classy, I tell ya) is flaking off the plastic frames, often leaving little black flecks on the bridge of my nose that I am unaware of.
I thought I would look into Aviators. They are super sophisticated on celebs like Jen and Jess.
But alas, when I don the fashion, I look like I should be doing time.
Have you ever run into that? A fashion that you just can't pull off?
Also, on my shopping trip, I got to thinking about brand snobbery. I mean, brand loyalty. What brands do you have to have? What things are you willing to go generic on to save a few bucks?
Here are things I cannot in good faith compromise on:
But I could care less about:
hand soap (especially if I transfer it to a cute bottle)
off-brand Crystal Light drink mixes (I actually prefer the generic brand - it dissolves better)
What are yours?
Saturday, April 17, 2010
It was such a fun celebration. We had yummy food and darling cake and phone calls from family and Joci's birth mom. Lots of celebration and joy.
I'll post pictures later. Right now I'm tired because I was up past 2:30 a.m. making said darling cake. :)
Thursday, April 15, 2010
P.S. You need an email coupon to get the deal. Leave me a comment if you're interested and I'll send it to you.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
There are a lot of stigmas and bad press about adoptions. I think it's kind of like air travel - it's the safest way to travel but no one really feels that way because the only time they hear about air travel in the press is when a devastating and fatal crash has occurred.
It's easy to focus on the horrifying and sensationalized adoption stories. And I know they exist. But they exist everywhere. I am just afraid that people will focus so much on the bad that they'll ignore the good. I know the bad stuff happens. I don't know what that adoptive mother was going through, but I do think she handled the situation poorly and out of desperation. And I hate the backlash that has come in the wake of the incident - all these diatribes about how adoption is just a sham and the love is never there.
I fight for adoption. Because I believe in it. I believe it makes the world a better place. I can tell you right now that Jocelyn, her birth parents, and us have benefited from adoption. That doesn't mean it was easy. But it has made our respective worlds better in certain ways. And while we can never forget that adoption is always comes from tragedy, it's like a phoenix that can rise strong and beautiful from the ashes of that tragedy.
So I just want all 23 people who follow this blog to know that I have a testimony of the goodness of adoption. It has brought out the best of so many people. We have seen an outpouring of true love from it. From our tireless caseworkers to the super supportive nurses in the hospital to a far too generous attorney...and the love and support of my friends like you. I just want you to know that...to remember that as you read stuff in the media. Just know that not all adoptions go sour. That not all adoptive parents struggle for love. That almost all adoptions are under the radar because they are so boringly normal and blissful.
We're lucky enough to be on one of those "successful plane rides." The kind you never hear about. It isn't newsworthy. It isn't exciting. But it is so good.
Monday, April 12, 2010
See Part II here.
In our hearts, we knew this was it. There was no fear and no trepidation. We felt completely at peace in our excitement. No nervousness! Well, we were nervous about being parents in six weeks, but we weren’t nervous about the placement falling through. We just knew.
And so we made the announcement on the blog. On April Fool’s Day. Just for fun. J
The next day at work, it was one of those goof-off days when everyone was rowdy and having a good time. No one working too hard or taking themselves too seriously. People were talking about what fun things they had planned for the weekend. I couldn’t help myself. I busted into the conversation and blurted, “Is this an okay time to tell everyone that I’m getting a baby?”
Everyone cheered and congratulated me. And then a designer named Kari asked, “Do you know what it is?”
“A girl,” I replied without even thinking.
Justin and I hadn’t even officially decided yet! Crap! What was I thinking??!!
But I just knew the little girl on the other side of the state was our baby. Not because she was a girl. Not because she was closer. She was ours. We didn’t pick her. Heavenly Father had picked her. For us. And I just knew it.
When I got home from work, I asked Justin how he felt about the situations. Like me, he just knew that the baby girl was our baby. We called Claire and told her our decision. We worried for the girl in Alabama but knew she would find the right family for her son.
Then we officially announced the news.
We were getting a baby girl from Boise, Idaho. Due May 8th, but with a c-section scheduled for April 28th. And then we pulled out our wallets and went shopping for all things pink!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
After a few minutes of celebration, my cell phone rang. I ran to the kitchen to answer it. The caller ID displayed “Claire,” the name of our caseworker.
“How did your phone call go?” she asked.
I told her how it went and how great it felt. I thought it was really sweet of her to follow up on our call.
“The reason why I’m really calling is that there’s a family here that’s selected you.”
I thought she was talking about the girl in Alabama we’d just talked to. Well, that was quick.
Claire straightened me out. “A family in Boise, with A New Beginning. I don’t know all the details, but here’s what I do know. They came to the agency in tears on Sunday. They looked through all the profiles and when they came back, they had your profile memorized. We told them that you guys might not be available and that they should choose a second choice in case. They refuse to choose a back-up family. They say you’re it.
“And I just looked at the date. I promise this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke. It seems like you’re already lined up with this other birth mom, but I felt like I should share this situation with you anyway. Let me know what you want to do.”
“What are my options?” I asked.
“The ball is in your court. We can find out more about this situation if you want, or you can just focus on the situation in Alabama.”
I told Claire I would like all the information about this situation too. More information makes for a better, decision, right?
She promised to call the headquarters in Boise and call me back right away.
I snapped my phone shut and stood stunned for a moment. I slowly walked back to the bedroom just staring at my phone.
“That was Claire.”
“That’s really nice of her to call,” Justin said.
“Yeah, about that…she called to tell us a family in Boise has selected us as well.”
“A family in Boise has selected us as well.”
We stood there in stunned silence. We were both just shocked. Totally shocked.
I repeated all the details to Justin and told him I’d call him as soon as Claire called me back with the rest of the information.
As I hurried out the door to go back to work, Justin said, “If it’s a girl, I have my mind made up.”
(It really wasn’t a secret to anyone that we wanted a girl.)
The drive between my home and my work takes me eight minutes. Claire called me about halfway through my drive and told me everything the agency knew. I was trying to hard to remember everything, because I couldn’t write things down as I was driving.
As soon as I peeled into a parking space at my office, I grabbed the pen from my checkbook and the biggest piece of paper I could find—my visiting teaching lesson from a few days before—and I scribbled down everyone’s ages, medical history, pregnancy history, and other details.
After the call, I reread the notes. Two things really jumped out at me.
Due May 8.
I went back into my office and shut the door before calling Justin. I was sure he would just be so sold on the idea of a girl that he might not think about much else. And we needed to be open to both of these situations; we needed to find the baby that was meant for us.
But Justin was very objective about the news. He listened carefully and then we decided that we wouldn’t talk about our feelings of either situation for 24 hours. Each of us would pray and ponder the situations independently so we couldn’t influence the other, then we’d talk about our feelings the next evening.
I was so thrilled that I had to tell someone. I told my closest friends at work about what happened. Two situations. Didn’t know which we’d go with yet, but we were getting a baby either way.
So there was a lot of thinking to do…
These situations had many opposing factors.
One would be a boy. The other a girl.
One was in Idaho. One was in Alabama.
The fees were very different.
The drug uses of the mothers during pregnancy were different.
The health histories of the families were different.
The involvement of a birth father was different.
The degrees of openness were different.
But in the end, it really seemed like we would have a baby in May!!!
That evening, we celebrated with a shopping trip. It was time to get a bag together. We bought a diaper bag, some bottles, and pacifiers, a “Baby on Board” sign, those mesh things that go on your car windows to block out sun, a bottle warmer for the car, diaper crème, baby powder, a gender-neutral sleeper, and all those other essentials.
But when it really hit us was in the formula aisle in Target. Do you know how many types of formula are in the formula aisle in Target? Too many. We stood there, shell-shocked. Regular? Soy? Lipids? This formula promised easier digestion and a less fussy baby. But this formula had magical ingredients for a healthier brain, smarter baby, and therefore more scholarships to an Ivy League College. And this one was closest to breast milk.
We read EVERY LABEL.
Of EVERY BRAND.
And then we stood there empty handed. Overwhelmed. We didn’t know what we were doing. We couldn’t do this. We could be parents in less than two months. What were these crazy birth moms thinking, picking us? This was too big for us.
And finally, we just laughed. Because when you feel like crying, the better option is to just laugh. And then I realized that the FDA regulates formula and it all had to be safe and fairly similar. So, we grabbed a can of *gasp!* generic brand formula and hit the checkout line.
To be continued...read Parta III here.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
A day for celebration.
Because, it was the day we found out we were going to be parents!
And this is how it happened.
Last year, in February 2009, our original Idaho agency, A New Beginning, teamed up with an agency in Utah, Heart to Heart. We were anxious. We had been on the list since September 2008, and our profile hadn’t even been shown once. I knew things would take awhile, maybe even a very long while, but I also knew that a birth mom would never pick us if our profile were never shown. Exposure was so important.
Time to stop waiting. Time to start finding.
I checked out some books on the subject from the library. One so-called expert said that by 1,000 contacts would usually result in finding a baby within a year. So I started making a list of businesses I would send letters and profiles to. Since my homestudy was only approved in Idaho, I would start there. I compiled the names and addresses of every high school, middle school, hospital, ob-gyn doctor, family doctor, family law attorneys, and family planning clinics in Idaho. I then started compiling addresses of those places in towns close to Idaho—in Utah, Montana, Wyoming, and Nevada. And seriously, thank goodness for Google and the internet, or who knows how long making a list like this would have taken?
One thousand letters. Nearly $500 in postage alone. Plus paper, pictures, ink, envelopes. Wow. I would definitely have to do this in stages.
I was working on this list when I got a call on my cell phone at work from Heart to Heart at the end of March.
“There’s a baby boy due at the end of May in Alabama. Your profile matches up with the mom’s requests. Can we show her your profile?”
“Yes, absolutely, yes!”
The caseworker gave me a few more details about the situation. I was happy, but cautious. The first time we ever got asked to show our profile, we were so giddy with excitement that it devastated us when we weren’t picked.
A couple of days later, Heart to Heart called back.
“She really likes your profile and she wants to talk to you. Would you be willing to do a conference
We set up a conference call for the next afternoon—Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
I got a list of questions ready. To help keep the awkward conversation moving. The first questions were fairly benign:
- What do you do with you? Do you work? Are you in school?
- Do you have plans for school or a career? What would you like to do with your life?
- What subjects did you like in school?
And progressed to the more sensitive and personal:
- What are you looking for in an adoptive family?
- What is your relationship with the baby’s father?
- What are you looking for in adoptive parents?
- How would you want things to happen at the hospital?
The next day, I went home a few minutes before the call. Justin and I chattered nervously and positioned ourselves in by phones in different rooms (our portable phone had too much static so we had to be in separate rooms, which totally sucked). I grabbed pen and paper and was ready when the caseworker called. The birth mom was on hold. She conferenced us all together on the call.
Like our first experience with meeting a potential birth mom, things started awkwardly and slowly. Just acknowledging how nervous I felt and how weird the situation was put everyone at ease.
My mind blanked. Good thing I had my questions typed up. The call went really well. We were laughing by the end of it and feeling very comfortable. It was a good feeling.
The call ended and Justin and I reunited in our bedroom to squeal and giggle and jump around. The mom still needed some time to make her decision for sure, but we couldn’t have imagined the call going any better. Plus, she wasn’t planning on talking to anyone else. Our odds were good.
To be continued...
Friday, April 2, 2010
I haven't blogged about it before and I meant to today but it's been a busy day. We are on our way to Arizona tomorrow and we drove to Utah tonight and got here at 11:30 p.m. I'm out of daylight to say the least.
But I'll get to the whole story when I get back. Until then, Happy Easter.