Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Think I'm in Denial About Infertility

My official cause of infertility is unknown.

It could be my body.

It could be my husband's.

Doctors have been surprised that we haven't been able to conceive so I think there is just something about the two of us together.

I've known this for years. Adopted twice. Been off birth control for over a decade. Had surgeries. And yet there is a part of me that is still in denial about my infertility. Especially since it is unexplained, I think that maybe it will just go away. Or maybe there is a 3% chance of me conceiving and it may just happen. Maybe I'll be 46 like Halle Berry and completely taken by surprise. Joci will be in college.

When my friends talk about their birthing stories, there is always a voice in the back of my head that makes plans for when I have the chance to give birth.

My endometriosis has the unpleasant side effect of really heavy periods. My sister told me to get an IUD. It would really minimize them. I dream of how nice that would be...but I just can't justify any kind of birth control. If there is that tiny chance I might get pregnant, I better not prevent any pregnancies no matter how painful and awful my periods are.

Lately, I've developed an allergic reaction to certain brands/types of tampons. I keep praying I won't have a problem with ALL tampons because I don't think I could do this without them. See the above paragraph about super heavy periods. I've semi-joked about getting a hysterectomy if that were the case. Part of me thinks, heck, why not? That uterus is done broke anyway. If it's causin' so much pain, get rid of 'er. But then again...what if?

I am so hung up on the "what if" that I can't consider the idea of birth control - temporary or permanent. In a perfect world where I had perfect control over my fertility, I would probably be done having children by now. Or at the very oldest, 35. I would be more than happy to put my uterus out of commission until menopause decided to kick in. But being saddled with unexplained infertility, I just can't do that. Maybe someday, I'll feel differently. Maybe when I am 35 or encroaching 40 I'll decide that I'm done with hope and I'll be ready to purposefully block the teeny, tiny chance of a miracle pregnancy. But for now, I'll deal with the pain of periods and the pain of the unknown.

Hope is painful.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How Adopting Prepared Me to Become an Author

I’m not sure I would be an author if I weren’t an adoptive mom. That’s because adoption taught me how to seek after and embrace Plan B.

How to put this delicately…I mean no offense to any other adoptive parents, birth parents, or adoptees—including myself or my children—but adoption was my Plan B.  I was going to get married (check!), get a house (check!), get a stable income (check!), get pregnant and have babies and be a mom (uh…roadblock).

The getting pregnant part of Plan A just wasn’t going to happen for me. But did that mean I had to give up on the part about having a house full of babies and being a mom? After thinking about it a lot, I knew that getting pregnant was not really as important to me as being a mom. I could be a mom without being pregnant through adoption. Maybe that makes it Plan A ½ instead of Plan B. Is that a thing? Can I mix fractions with a letter? I pretty much coasted in Algebra but I do remember numbers and letters mixing in equations, so I will allow it. Adoption became Plan A ½. I hit a roadblock but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Call it what you will—I found a loophole, a cheat, a backdoor, an alternative route—but I became a mom.

As long as I can remember, I wanted to write books. Well, not just write them. I wanted people to read the books I would write. I wanted to be an author. So I made a plan. I was going to write a book (check!), I was going to see if beta readers liked it (check!), I was going to query agents (check!), an agent would pick it up and sell it to a publishing house and I would be an author and people would read my book (uh…roadblock).

I had a lot of positive feedback from many literary agents, but no one offered to champion my book. I can’t say why. I’ve heard that the recession was hard on the publishing industry and no one wanted to take a risk on a new author. Maybe I never found the right agent. Maybe the publishing industry as a whole is changing. I suspect all those things.

I thought that my dream of being an author hinged on an agent’s approval of my work. But as I thought about how I “unconventionally” became a mom, I decided that I could unconventionally become an author. I was tired of people telling me no! I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny, and not be the victim of some external factors (like a bad uterus or a doctor’s opinion or an agent’s opinion).

And that’s how I decided to become an indie author. I wanted my work to sink or swim on it’s own. I wanted readers to decide what they read—not some agent or publishing house. I didn’t want to take no for an answer. I didn’t want to give up my lifelong dream just because I hit a roadblock. So I turned to Plan A ½ and found a “cheat” or a “backdoor” and became a published author. And when it comes down to it, I am more pleased with myself for the courage and tenacity I had to muster to become an indie writer than I am off the money I have made doing it.

Don’t take no for an answer. Plan A ½ is out there. Find it!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Her Hands

I miss her hands. Soft and warm with long graceful fingers. Ridged with blue veins I would squish down with my fingers. The always-elegant nails filed into long ovals and gleaming with a coat of clear or neutral polish. The thick gold ring on her left hand that she so rarely removed. A few of the joints grew gnarled with age in the past few years. A smattering of brown spots appeared. But her hands were always soft. Always ready for a squeeze or a caress. When I knew she was dying, my only prayer was to get to her in time to hold her hand while it was still warm. I did. I was holding it when she died.

Today I miss her hands.  


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