Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We got it

The invitation letter to our MAPP training came yesterday afternoon. In about a week and a half we'll have our first class. I feel like we're actually doing something toward making this happen, even though in reality we're just waiting to do something. It reminds me of when I went to RE#2 and got a plan for a new IVF protocol. It felt like getting a shot of a new feel-good drug. I guess hope is a high. I remember counting the days until AF would come and I could start lupron---and I hated lupron. I didn't know then that IVF wouldn't bring us the child we longed for, but I'm feeling confident that adoption will. And as of yesterday we're one step closer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

We're in unless I hear otherwise. . .la, la, la, la, la, la (fingers in ears)

I left a message for our adoption social worker almost two weeks ago asking when MAPP training would start. MAPP classes are the state-run classes all prospective foster and foster-adopt parents need to take in order to be licensed by the state. DH works a lot of nights and we need to arrange for him to swap shifts with people, so I was anxious to have dates in hand. Our social worker called me back last week and left a message. He said that classes start on Monday, September 8. He also said that they would be sending out the invite letters soon. A week later and we're still waiting for a letter, but I'm assuming we're in. He listed all the dates for me and ended his message with, "I hope to see you then." That's pretty much an invite, right? You would take it that way, wouldn't you?

I have a tendency to worry about things. I know it's ridiculous, but I would feel so much better having a letter as proof that we can attend, that we're moving on to the next step. I think that's one of the left-over pieces of infertility that I need to deal with---this low-level but ever-present worry that things aren't going to work out. I find that I often expect the worse. It's one of those shadows I wrote about in my last post. I know this will pass with time . . . with time and a damn letter from social services. Is that the mailman?

Monday, August 18, 2008

There is no light at the end of the tunnel, but then again there is no tunnel

I was talking with a friend last week about coming out the other side of infertility. She was saying that so often people think the other side of infertility is getting pregnant, but that's only one other side. This huge spiral amorphous beast called infertility has more than one way out, or at least out of the darkest part of it. And I think I'm closer to being out of it than I ever thought possible. 

For a while, I was picturing my movement away from the depths of the darkness of infertility, where I've spent the last three years, as moving toward the light at the end of the tunnel.  Then I realized that infertility isn't like a tunnel.  There's no straight shot from Point A to Point B. Early in my journey, that's how I saw it.  I thought I would move down the continuum of infertility treatments and eventually get to end of the tunnel: a BFP. Well, I never got there, and I have since learned from some of my infertile friends that, sadly, a BFP isn't necessarily the end of the tunnel anyway.  

So instead I've come to see infertility as an enormous black cloud constantly overhead.  It was its own weather system, visible on radar, affecting everything I did, every decision I made. Sometimes I was under the deepest, darkest part of the cloud and I didn't see the sun for days and weeks at a time.  During those times, I couldn't imagine that there would ever be sun again, unless I got pregnant.  I forgot what the sun felt like on my face.  I thought I would always live in darkness. Maybe I even started to think that I wasn't worthy of light-that I deserved to be in this sad, miserable place.  I didn't realize that I didn't deserve the unhappiness of infertility any more than someone deserves bad weather.  And I had no more control over being infertile than I had over whether it rains or the sun comes out tomorrow.  

Every once in a while there were breaks in the cloud and the sun came shining through. Maybe it was because I was taking a break from treatment, maybe it was because I saw a new RE and had a new plan, maybe it was because I came across a post about an adoption conference in my area.  I thought, "Ah, yes this is what it feels like to be happy, to feel hopeful, to live again." It took more than a few of these moments before I began to think that perhaps I didn't have to live under the cloud, even if I never did get pregnant.  I couldn't move the cloud, but possibly I could move myself. Maybe I could walk out from under it.  Maybe pregnancy wasn't going to be my deliverance-a thought that was unthinkable, or at least unacceptable, just months before.  I came to that revelation through necessity when our last IVF failed.  But really I was starting to get there before then, when I began to think that adopting might be better than hurting like I was, when I began to wonder which I wanted more---to be pregnant or to be a parent. 
I don't really know how or when it happened, but right now I feel like I'm living right at the edge of the cloud.  Most of the time I'm in the sun. Once in a while, the cloud casts a shadow over me, but it passes.  I don't panic anymore or sink into the depths of despair because I know the darkness is only temporary.  Even my hatred toward my body will heal, I believe.   I don't feel angry at fate for its capricousness or at ignorant fertiles for their ignorance. What I am starting to feel is peace.  Now that doesn't mean I don't feel hurt, when others squeal over my colleague's baby bump or my friend shares all the glorious details of her ultrasound.  But the pain isn't as deep and doesn't last long.  I know that--- the squeals, the bump, the ultrasound---won't ever be mine and I'm beginning to be OK with that. 

I came across this quote here, and it resonated with me: 
A woman in Barbara Eck Menning's classic study Infertility said, "My infertility resides in my heart like an old friend. I do not hear from it for weeks at a time, and then, a moment, a thought, a baby announcement or some such thing, and I will feel the tug---maybe even be sad or shed a few tears. And I think 'there's my old friend; It will always be a part of me. . .' "
Perhaps I'm not quite at the point of seeing infertility as "my old friend", but I can live with it always being a part of me.  I never, ever thought I would say that.  

Monday, August 4, 2008

Body Hate

So I can't deny any longer that I'm fat.  Very fat.  I'm not "need to be lifted out of my bed with a crane, Richard Simmons is my friend" fat, but I am "shop at Lane Bryant, turn sideways through the turnstile" fat.  It's not a total surprise because I've been fat before, but I thought I never would be again.  I used to hate my body, but I got worried about my health when my parents were both diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Worried enough that I made a change.  I started cooking and eating nutritious food and skiing and kayaking and running.  My body was strong and healthy and I liked it that way.  Heck, I loved it that way.

Then I started TTC and my body turned on me.  Ironically it looked healthy but it was actually messed up inside.  So now I guess I've turned on my body.  It's defective and isn't worthy of health.  I know that's not a rational way to think about it, but I also know that's the way I feel deep down. In the past, I was able to work out and change my eating habits to get my body healthy.  I know how to do it and I know I'm capable of doing it.  But somehow it's not worth the effort now.  

Intellectually, I know that I need to make it worth the effort, but I'm not sure how to deal with the emotional piece.  I don't have any answers.  I'm just hoping that writing about it will help me sort out the pieces.  

Friday, August 1, 2008

Home Visit and Cold Feet

We had our home visit yesterday.  I spent the last two days cleaning and organizing.  My closets are neat, my fridge is spotless, and my windows are streak-free.  We passed, which wasn't a hard feat because all that the social worker did was peek at our "child's" room (to make sure it's big enough to hold a child), test the smoke detectors, and check for exits.  I tried to think of subtle ways to get him to notice the scrubbed baseboards and the neatly stacked tupperware, but everything I came up with seemed slightly awkward. If you don't mind waiting just a minute, I'll get you a tupperware container to take that bottled water back to the office in (I should have baked cookies; I could have offered a container then).  Oops, I dropped the matching (and easily accessible) lid right next to our squeaky clean baseboard. No worries. Oh, look how the sunlight streaming in from the crystal clear window glass through the lid makes a prism on the freshly scrubbed wall. Anyway, we should get a letter soon inviting us to take MAPP classes, our next step in the process, in September.    

Which is just great timing in light of the fact that DH and I are now beginning to question whether we can or even want to do this.  By "this", I mean become parents.  Is that shocking? I think it must because I could never even say those words out loud to anyone I know in real life. They just get stuck in my throat. Why are we having cold feet now?

DH has the more noble category of concerns and questions. He's worried about what kind of parent he's going to be.  He didn't have the best examples growing up and he doesn't want to pass that junk on to his child.  He's concerned that he'll fail in his efforts to teach our child what he or she needs to know to be a good person.  I think he's worried about having the same kind of messed up relationship with our child that he has with his parents.  

As for me, well, my fears are (embarrassingly) selfish ones.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like my life belongs to me.  I'm not anxious or stressed out about anything.  I don't have to plan my life around appointments and injections.  I love spending time with DH without the cloud of treatments hanging over our heads all the time. It's like when we were dating, but better.  I feel so free.  Am I ready to give up this newly rediscovered control over my life for the roller coaster of adoption and parenthood?  

If we had got pregnant from our last IVF, we might have had the same worries, but we wouldn't have perceived that there was a choice.  We would have just kept going down the path on which we started three years ago. But, as preadoptive parents, we do have a choice.  We could stop all this right now and live our lives child-free: be the favorite auntie and uncle to all our friends' kids, travel, go out to dinner, drink wine, and have only each other to worry about.  I've never actually considered that before and now that I'm examining the possibility of a life without adoption,  having that choice makes the whole situation feel overwhelming.  

From what I've read and heard, all our fears are normal.  But still they make me doubt myself. That's what fear always does, right? I can't say that the thought of turning away from adoption brings me less fear.  It doesn't feel right to me at all.  In fact, it's enough to nearly bring on a panic attack. But I am afraid that the adoption process will turn me into the person I was when we were going through treatments.  I don't want to be that unhappy, stressed out person again.  Now that I have a bit of distance from it, I just can't go back there--I can't.  I guess the benefit of cold feet is that you get to look at your situation and make a conscious choice about how to deal with it, rather than going through the motions. You feel the doubt and fear and move through it, more aware of the pitfalls, and maybe, just maybe, being more capable of avoiding them.  Or at least that's my hope.