Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Will Not Be Silent about Infertility


Taina at We Are What We Repeatedly Do has deemed me worthy of the Speak Out, Speak Up award. I appreciate her high opinion of me-that I have the "strength of character to speak out without being a bitch." I know for sure that there are some who would strongly disagree with her on that point. ;)

I guess the award is an affirmation of my loud mouth. I have been far from quiet about my infertility. My immediate family has been in the know since our first RE appointment and I came out to my extended family just before our first IVF over a year ago. I have not been shy with my coworkers either. That openness has led to awkward moments like walking back to my classroom after an IUI and getting a thumbs up from a coworker, to touching moments like a group of coworkers taking my class for a day because I was sick as a dog and they knew I wanted to get better in time for my retrieval.

For a while I was open about my own infertility, but I wasn't quick to confront the ignorance of others head on. But with time I've grown more comfortable and now I have no problem calling people on stupid comments. I don't go around bitchslapping strangers, but friends and acquaintances best watch out if they feel the need to joke about "something in the water" or how if so-and-so relaxes she'll get pregnant. The most recent comment was said by a very good friend about a coworker who has been trying for four whole months. She actually said that if C. stops stressing about it, it will happen. I nailed her with the whole " women in war zones get pregnant, they're pretty stressed... and what about women who live in poverty, they get pregnant, aren't they stressed, what about women who are raped. . ." She cried uncle, as she should have.

My final task as a recipient of this award is to tag four others who have not been silent about their infertility. My nominees are:

Shelby because I know she hopes to be more open when the time is right

Wendy because she's just really cool

Cindy because I know being honest has bitten her in the ass at times (see her November 10 post)

and Steph because she kicks ass as one of the most supportive IFers I know

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Pill

Did I mention that I'm back on the pill? With so many women in the IF blogosphere trying so hard to get pregnant, it feels sacrilegious for me to say that I have eliminated all chance of that surprise miracle pregnancy that is destined to come to us because we're adopting-you know, that pregnancy that everyone mentions when I share our adoption news. They can't just say congratulations; they have to say, "Now you just know what's going to happen. . ." because everyone knows you can't really be happy as a mom until you've had "one of your own." I apologize for the rant, but the half-congratulations and unfriendly adoption language have been getting to me lately.

Anyway, I've been back on the pill for two months. I struggled with the decision. Our chances of getting pregnant on our own are far less than 1%, but it was hard to take away that possibility, especially since adoption has increased our chances **rolling eyes**. But after I stopped treatment, my body had a major meltdown. Over the summer, during every cycle my cramps started a week and a half before my period and were really bad. Accompanying the cramps was some pretty yucky nausea, which sometimes caused me to lose my breakfast but mostly caused me to lie in bed with a pillow over my head taking deep "don't throw up, don't throw up" breaths. Both the cramps and the nausea continued into my period and, to top it all off, my period was heavier than it's been in a long time. It's always been on the heavy side so you can imagine what these post-infertility treatment periods were like. It was like going back in time to when I was 13, the age at which I went on the pill for the first time due to debilitating cramps (yes, I do wonder if being on the pill at such a young age has anything to do with my infertility). This summer it was as though my body was regressing back to those days. I wonder if it had something to do with my body making one final push toward menopause. I already have Diminished Ovarian Reserve. Maybe the true end of my fertility is closer than I realized.

My gynecologist said it was probably the endometriosis coming back. I don't necessarily agree because the endo they found during my lap in 2006 was light and certainly hadn't been there since I was a teenager. I think it more likely that I just have a f*@&ed up body. She suggested the pill or the IUD, but said with the pill I could come off it more easily if I ever wanted to. She gave me a prescription so I could fill it when I was ready. I resisted until I started back to work after summer vacation and realized how much more miserable the cramps and nausea are when dealing with 20 six-year-olds.

I finally threw in the towel last month. . .and it's been a blessed relief. I'm not in pain. I'm not nauseous. I don't have to go to to stock up on tampons anymore. I feel better than I have in a while. I don't know what it means that I feel better with fake hormones coursing through my body than I do in my natural state, except that, as I said earlier, I have a f*@&ed up body. It's been a relief mentally as well. There's no wondering if I could be pregnant, no "I'm not trying, but I'm still hoping" 2ww, no overanalysis of PMS symptoms. I feel more free than I have at anytime since we started trying. I have control over my body, specifically my fertility now. I may not be pregnant this cycle, but this time it's my choice. I know this choice is just an illusion, but I'll gladly take the illusion of control over reality right now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One more thing to be grateful for

We heard from DSS today and a social worker has been assigned to our case. He's the same worker who came to our home to do our preMAPP interview. He was also one of our MAPP trainers, so we know him quite well. We scheduled our first homestudy visit and interview for Wednesday, December 3. For this interview it will be just me. He needs to do individual interviews with each of us and then he'll schedule a visit with both of us together. The visit on December 3 will last about 90 minutes to 2 hours. That tidbit of information threw me a little bit because I can't imagine talking to this man for that length of time, but shoot, I'll talk to anyone for 2 hours if it gets me closer to being a mom.

I am very excited and a little nervous. I'm especially nervous about our dogs. I love them, but they are overly exuberant and very slobbery. They settle down quickly, but I'm afraid the initial reaction might be a little overwhelming. Last time, they "greeted" our social worker and then we put them out on the deck, where they happily sunbathed for the entire time. I don't think putting our dogs on the deck in December is the best way to sell ourselves as responsible potential parents. I'm hoping a long walk before the worker arrives and some kongs filled with peanut butter will do the trick. Any tips?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me (and I Actually Mean It)

Today I turned 39 and, you know, it wasn't so bad. Last year was a tough birthday for me. Turning 38 put me into the advanced, advanced maternal age category. For my clinic, that meant a major nosedive in success rates for IVF. I had just had IVF#2 converted to yet another useless IUI after developing a dominant follicle. I knew IVF#3 was coming, and I had really hoped to start it before my 38th birthday, as though my chances would immediately drop upon reaching November 17. But my E2 level was too high to cycle so I had to go on BCPs instead and my cycle was pushed back to December. I could feel time slipping away from me and my chances of a pregnancy along with it.

At 39, having stopped fertility treatments, I have virtually no chance of getting pregnant, but amazingly it's OK. I guess that's one of the benefits of choosing adoption. It's changed the nature of time for me. Instead of feeling like time is taking me farther away from a child, now I feel like it's bringing me closer to one. Each day that passes is one day closer to meeting our child, so I'll make a wish (non-TTC related), blow out my candles, and eat my cake with a smile. Bring on a new year!

P.S. I just got back from a family trip to Disney World and I'm a bit behind on my blog reading and commenting. I will work hard to catch up this week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Great Expectations. . .or not

One bit of advice that was repeated several times in the course of our MAPP training is that the best approach is to have no expectations of our child and of what parenting will be like. I understand the reason behind this advice: expectations can lead to disappointment and it's best to just deal with a situation as it is without comparing it to the image of what you expected it to be. To be honest I was annoyed by this advice. I thought, infertility has taken so much from me and now I have to give up hope too. Unlike all my friends who are parents, I can't have hope and dreams for my child? Screw that!

I stewed about all of it for a while, until it occurred to me that hope and expectation are not the same thing. I hoped that my closure IVF cycle would work, but I didn't expect it to. I hoped there were lots more eggs in follicles hiding in my ovary that, lo and behold, the RE would find during retrieval, but I didn't expect that to happen. I hoped my one little embryo would be the one, but I wasn't expecting it. It hurt when my last IVF cycle failed, but in a way I hadn't expected it to succeed in the first place (after all, there's a reason it's called closure). The pain was not the same as when IVF#2 got converted. Then I had expected to have the same number or more eggs as I'd had during IVF#1. I'd expected to transfer 3 embryos this time to up our odds. Instead, I ended up with one dominant follicle and an IUI. Now,that was disappointment.

So I've been thinking a lot about expectation vs. hope, and this is how I've come to see it:

Expectation is clearly defined. There's one outcome, an image of what the outcome will look like, and a way to get to that outcome. There is little room for deviation. In fact, deviation leads to disappointment. Expectation is, "I don't think that's too much to ask." Expectation is about control.

Hope is open-ended. It accepts the possibility that the journey may end up in a completely different place that the original destination. It is looking forward to happiness, to good things, without the specific plan of how those good things will come to pass. Hope is, "Wouldn't it be nice, but hey. . . it's all good." Hope is about letting go of control.

And so, I think what our MAPP trainers were warning us against was creating images in our minds of the happy family with the child who loves to read, play ball with Dad, who is smart, well-behaved, funny, and just makes us into the family we've always dreamed about. I think also they wanted to be sure that we don't expect a child to make life better for us, to erase the wounds of infertility. I can see how these expectations could become heavy burdens when loving a child who has experienced trauma. They're too narrow to allow healing to happen.

So DH and I are learning to let go of our expectations, but we still hold on to hope: hope that we can help our child heal from whatever hurts life has inflicted on him, that we'll help him meet his potential whatever it is, that we have enough love in our hearts to take whatever life hands us and make it better. We hope that hope is enough.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Woohoo! Yeah Baby!

We just got back from our final adoption class. We got a certificate and everything. Of course, it's not really the end of anything, but still it's a milestone. We also passed in our profile questionnaire which is now in the hands of the adoption unit supervisor. Now we wait for an adoption worker to be assigned to us and start scheduling our home visits. Why am I so excited about more waiting?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Heart Your Blog

Wendy, from Our Story, gave me the I Heart Your Blog Award. Wendy's blog chronicles her journey from IVF to adoption. Her story reminds me of mine in many ways, and I'm so happy for her as she moves forward with domestic newborn adoption.

The way it works is I need to answer the following questions with single word responses. Then I'm supposed to pass on the award to 7 other bloggers:

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Where is your significant other? Cooking
3. Your hair color? Chestnut
4. Your mother? Loving
5. Your father? Funny
6. Your favorite thing? Family
7. Your dream last night? Random
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. The room you're in? Cozy
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Loss
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Motherhood
13. Where were you last night? Restaurant
14. What you're not? Energized
15. One of your wish list items? Child
16. Where you grew up? Massachusetts
17. The last thing you did? Wine
18. What are you wearing? Jeans
19. Your T.V.? Off
20. Your pet? Snoring
21. Your computer? Mac
22. Your mood? Melancholy
23. Missing someone? Always
24. Your car? Subaru
25. Something you're not wearing? Contacts
26. Favorite store? Borders
27. Your Summer? Relaxing
28. Love someone? Lots
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Today

I'm always bad about passing on tags and awards. I'm the same way about chain emails. Here are a few blogs I love to read. I know it's not seven, but most of my other faves have already been tagged/awarded:

We Are What We Repeatedly Do
Are You There God? It's Me, Cindy, and I Want a Baby!
A Long and Winding Road
The Great Big If. . .