Sunday, June 27, 2010

Are you curious?

I know I said I stay kind of quiet about the adoption...that's true most of the time out in the real world. However, around here we do quite a bit of talking about it. Although I will say it does not consume as much talk/thought as infertility.

OK I guess that's a little lie. When we were in the thick of it (paperwork) it was all we talked about. It was so, so much we had to talk about it every.single.minute to keep sane and get it all done.

You've also heard me talk about our love of Curious George. How we had planned and planned and planned on a Curious George themed nursery from the get-go. How we have collected Curious George items for years and how they are all neatly stored and labeled in giant rubber totes in our garage closets.

We got them out today.

No, not because we have a referral. We're still probably months and months and months away from that.

But because there is nothing for us to do right now. We're just waiting. So I decided it would be fun to take a look at all of our CG stuff.

A brief rewind in the timeline:

Before we were infertile (I mean before we knew we were infertile) we always said we'd "have one adopt one." Life is funny that way, huh?

In 1996 or so someone suggested we do a Curious George themed nursery one day because we both loved him and had fond memories of him from our childhood. Because there is a seven year age difference between the two of us we don't always share the same childhood loves but there we were, bonded over a little curious monkey named George. When we were going through our CG loot today we found a calendar from 1997 which we purchased because the prints were beautiful and we thought we might frame one or two for the walls. 1997 folks. No, we weren't trying then, but we were blissfully naive and innocent enough to think it was fine and dandy to purchase such items so far in advance. Hardy har har har.

In 2005 (May to be exact, so we just hit five years though we're no longer TTC) we started officially trying. I'd already been off the pill for nearly a year and we were avoiding crucial times, what a complete joke. Yes, I know this is a joke many of us have come to realize the universe was playing on us.

2007-2009: a laparascopy, three hysteroscopies, one polypectomy, two uterine biopsies, four IUIs, and four IVFs leads to nothing but heartache and ridiculous amounts of money spent. Have one, adopt one? Seemed to be quite hung up on 'having one.'

2010: Between IVF #4 and #5 we decide to seriously think about adoption. We go so far as to fill out a ton of paperwork and pay ridiculous amounts of money to an agency, considering this our Plan A, and our final FET at CCRM our Plan B.

November 2010: stupid stupid stupid chemical pregnancy. We saw the second line and our worlds turned upside down. Brief though it was, we had tasted success (not really, in the grand scheme of things, but to us, it meant the WORLD and it was the closest moment we'd ever had of thinking we might just have one after all) and it threw us for a major loop. We put the adoption on hold, we freaked out, we cried, we talked, we screamed, we kicked, we screamed some more, we talked, we begged, we felt stupid, we ran around in circles like chickens with our heads cut off.

Did that second line mean anything? Anything at all?

What is it with lyrics anyways?

I love Regina Spektor. And early on in our IF journey I would listen to this one part of her song "On the Radio" and use it to reinforce my idea to keep trying.

This is how it works

You're young until you're not

You love until you don't

You try until you can't

You laugh until you cry

You cry until you laugh

And everyone must breathe

Until their dying breath

I was going to 'try until I can't.' Thanks, Regina, for giving me permission.

And then, one day, singing those familiar lyrics, eureka.

I had.

I had tried until I couldn't.

This life, it's not a dressed rehearsal.

This is it.

I will say it again: I had tried until I couldn't. I had laughed until I cried, I had cried until I laughed, and I knew that one day I will breathe until my dying breath.

But hopefully not until I've lived a long full life with someone calling me Mom.

Calling me, Mom.

Friday, June 25, 2010

For all my buds who have succeeded....

Just make sure this isn't what your hubs turn into!

Not really, I just think this is hilarious!

Click here (I can't get it to embed).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All over the place

Warning: I have a little hunch this post is going to be all over the place.

First, boy do I only wish I were kidding or lying about my poll in my other post. I won't say anything more about it, but indeed it is a very true situation, with other layers that are even yuckier. PPD might be an issue--money issues should most definitely not. I'll keep that in my brain and see how I can help.

I'm reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Committed" right now. I'm only near the beginning but already there is so much--so much!--that stands out and I wish I had it with me to directly quote what she wrote. She talks about how in our society it is just drilled into us that we have the absolute right to being happy. Well duh, right? Of course we are entitled to happiness. Happiness on a grand scale, happiness in everything we do--our love lives, our work lives, our family lives, our social lives.

It got me reflecting on my childhood, my upbringing. As I've worked to transition from pursuit of a biological family to pursuit of an adoptive family I see so many ways I was horrible ill-prepared for what I've been through. It's not my parents fault, per se (imagine that, NOT blaming my parents!) but rather it was their over-abundant love and devotion that sort of set me up for a massive, massive fall without any sort of a net to catch me.

In this society at large, and most definitely in my little tiny society that is my family, we don't spend a lot of time emphasizing that you might not achieve a dream. Quite the opposite--we're told to dream big, to go for it, to just do it, to work hard, to set big goals, to push push push and climb climb climb. So it's not surprising I adopted the same attitude when, five long years ago, we decided to get started with the family-building process.

The irony in this situation is that the physical act of having a baby isn't really a lofty goal (note: I'm not saying it isn't hard work or extremely important work to raise a healthy, happy, well-adjusted family--but the act of getting pregnant is accomplished regularly by all types of people usually with little er, effort--we all know that). Getting pregnant and having a few kids isn't really special or unique in say the same way as becoming highly specialized neuro-radiologist at one of the top medical facilities in the country (hi Anna!) or overcoming a shitty childhood and adolescence and writing a best selling memoir and then going on to lead efforts to end the sexual exploitation of girls (hi JE!). Now those are some unique accomplishments that took diligence, hard work, and major effort.

So as I've mentioned before, I wasn't prepared to fail or lose, most especially at something that shouldn't be hard in the first place.

But I did.

And it threw me for a loop of unparalleled proportions.

Suddenly, there was nothing as important as achieving a pregnancy, as delivering a baby that was a genetic hybrid of myself and Mr. LC...nothing else could possibly do. You tell me that it's going to be difficult and that just made me that much more determined to do it, to just work harder.

Hence spending nearly five years of my life in pursuit of such a decidedly un-lofty goal. I expended more energy towards this than anything else in my life and I am quite certain if I could have contained all of that energy and directed it towards any one thing I could have won the Tour de France or run for President. I'm just sayin'.

When we started talking about adoption I was so all over the place. I remember telling Mr. LC that if indeed we adopted then I would absolutely refuse any stupid baby showers. Baby showers are, after all, for women sitting high up on a make believe throne with huge baby bumps, swollen ankles, and a certain glow about their smug faces (I know that sounds rude, but I was bitter folks--majorly bitter--when the mister and I had this conversation). I wouldn't be one so I wouldn't have--couldn't have--a baby shower. I hadn't earned the right. I hadn't worked hard enough?

I'm still very, very quiet about our adoption. It makes me uncomfortable to talk about it. Not because I am not thrilled and excited about it. But it's because I've been burned. I'm now much better prepared to see the world for what it is. I am much better prepared to realize that we have already worked very hard to make this adoption happen, we have already spent multiple thousands of dollars to make this adoption happen, but yet it doesn't guarantee us anything. Working hard does not = a baby to raise and love. Not for everyone. Really, not for anyone, because most people do not work hard to get a baby. They just get one.

Of course when I imagine my life in a few years I am prone to picturing it with a little girl, with big brown eyes and beautiful brown skin wearing some adorable Small Paul duds...and I wonder if I will do what my parents did to me to her? That is, love her so fiercely and be so protective that she grows up with the sense that the world truly is at her feet, with boundless opportunity, and anything she wants she can get--if she just works hard enough...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Mr. LC:

Dear Mr. LC,

I'm sorry today isn't a special day for you.

I'm sorry that for five years you have had to watch this day pass you by despite doing everything known to man to make it your day too.

I'm sorry you've fought this battle largely without much support from your male compadres--I wish men could be more vocal and reach out to one another.

I'm sorry we cannot celebrate your impending fatherhood-via-adoption today but I know we're both 'hanging back' hoping for the best but not counting our chickens. Like you said, there are no children in this house yet....

I'm sorry I will never give you that moment of cutting the cord, of seeing your child take his first breath and release his first cry, of holding a newborn, of having a tiny baby curl up on your chest and take a nap with you. I tried really, really hard. I know you did, too.

I'm sorry you will not get to pass along--in a genetic sense--your wonderful creative talents.

We've heard people say they 'fell in love all over again' when they saw their child come into the world.

Well I'm proud we've stayed in love through the past five years. As Megan alluded to in her post, isn't it easy to fall in love all over again in the good times, at those magical moments? What's tough is falling in love all over again through the shitty times.

I've fallen in love with you all over again every time we took a BFN call together. Every time we clung together in the pitch of night in our bed, tears falling, in the aftermath of every IVF cycle. Every time you donned scrubs and surgical booties and danced around the pre-op room to make me laugh to calm my nerves. Every time you held my hand while we took those dreadful phone calls with fertilization reports and embryo updates. Every time you drove with me to the lab at ungodly hours, or came with me to the ultrasounds, or sat with me during the WTF meetings. When you literally held me up in the stairwell coming out of WTF #3 when I got the donor egg speech. When you let me play ELO's 'Hold On Tight to Your Dreams' exactly 156 times during IVFs #4 and #5 because it was sometimes the only thing that could keep me going.

I hope this is the last Father's Day that no one calls you Dad.

Mrs. LC

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stop the presses!

Gaining a little weight can cure your infertility!

At least, that's what I heard at our healthcare provider meeting this morning.


I work with a lot of intelligent people. Six top notch endocrinologists and eleven mid-level providers. We have a provider meeting every Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. to discuss late-breaking trials, medication updates, etc. etc. On a bad day I have to make a presentation about some random lipoprotein condition, thankfully, I wasn't on today. Today's official topic was hypo.gonadism. Good times all around.

But before the meeting started I was privy to this conversation:

Provider A: "Remember Sally (not her real name, duh!)? The one who did infertility treatments forever and they never worked? And then got pregnant last year on her own? She's pregnant again! At age 40!"

Provider B: Sounds like she just needed a reset.

Provider A: (said with confidence!) I think she just needed to gain weight. That's my take on the whole thing. She gained a little weight and now look--two pregnancies!

Side note: Sally was not anorexic. Not in the least. She was on the thin side of average, at best.

Provider B: Wow--two babies under age two at age 40--be careful what you wish for.

At this point my I could feel heat in my face, and then my face melted right off.


Thanks, healthcare providers, fellow coworkers, for being so stooopid. And yes, most of my coworkers know about my infertility and repeated rounds of treatment.


And just a quick poll: if you had to go through IF treatment and got lucky and it worked and you were expecting multiples and you were traveling out of state and surprise--your babies came really early--would you go back to your home state for three weeks and leave those babies behind in the know, so you could finish the nursery and get the house ready? Just curious.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The one with all the metaphors...

I know I've alluded to the fact that we didn't just decide to adopt overnight or on a whim. I know you already knew that. But I guess I feel that writing about the process might be a teeny tiny bit helpful to someone else who--poor darlings--are in similar circumstances. But then that sounds so pompous--why would my journey or thought processes be useful as a guide to anyone else? So I'm not meaning that, necessarily. After all, this journey is about the most intensely personal I can imagine--which is why I blog about it for all the world to see. OK, not all the world, but the handful of readers I've got :)

Soon I will post an old draft post called "Waving the White Flag" which I am promising myself I I wrote it very soon after we made our final, final decision...even after we were entertaining the idea of more treatment (shudder). But for now, I'll just let you into my head a little more.

A few posts back I included the lyrics to a song...and funny enough that song is by the Mister from back in his grown-up band days. I hadn't thought about the song in a long time but one day I started singing it and when I got to that part of the lyrics they grabbed me.

I can hear the engines die, stallin'.

When you fail repeatedly at treatment, especially twice at one of the big-gun clinics, you feel as if you're in a plane, listening to the engines cut out. Panic sets in. You know there is nothing, nothing you can do. You claw at the air, desperate, but you're completely out of control.

I can see the clouds go by, fallin'.

You're in a free fall, life racing by you at a breakneck speed, so fast you can scarcely take it in. The world keeps on living but all you can see are the clouds--falling-- and perhaps the ground racing upwards towards you.

I can feel my senses fry, dissolvin'.

This line always makes me shiver. My senses were frying. I was trying so hard to live my life but I was so, so sick of the undercurrent of infertility robbing me of my natural born happiness. I am lucky. I am lucky. I have my health, I have my friends, I have a job, I have a home, I have a full belly. But I was dissolving, becoming a shadow of myself whose senses were tuned only into infertility. What smells, sights, sounds, tastes, touches was I missing as life kept happening and I was still free-falling through infertility treatments?

But I still know my way home.

My way home is parenthood. To be a parent. To help shape a little tiny human being. To nurture them through this world into an independent free-thinking person who respects humans and nature, who loves and laughs and contributes. Who makes a difference. That's my way home. Not seeing my genes passed on, not looking into my own eyes, not having a big pregnant belly. Will I miss those things? Sure. But in the end, they just had to take a backseat to finding my way home.

I do still know my way home. My way home is going to be fulfilled with a little tiny baby in Ethiopia, half a world away, who does not need rescuing--no no no!--but yet we desperately need each other. I am her way home and she is mine.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10th

Today is June 10th, 2010.

June 10th, 2009 I woke up, got ready for work and was about to walk out the door when my cell phone rang. At 6:30 a.m. which is never a good sign. I saw that it was my sister.

"Dad had a stroke."

I could scarcely believe it. The man had just recovered from a near deadly car accident in which he broke his neck. In fact, he had ridden his bike 15 miles the day before and worked outside on their acreage. A stroke seemed damn near impossible.

But he had slipped from us before we could do anything to stop it.

June 10th, 2008. I can hardly type these words without crying. My sweet friend Gail lost her beautiful twin girls, Samantha and Caroline, born too soon. I can feel it like it was yesterday, so late into the night, sitting on my couch, where I sit right now. Gail and I talking to each other on the phone through our tears and anguish and disbelief as she laid in a hospital bed so far away and I remember going and crawling into my own bed with Mr. LC and clinging onto him and telling him she had lost those precious girls and we just held onto each other, not knowing what to do.

There was nothing we could do.

God it takes my breath away thinking of it tonight and I can only fathom what it feels like for her, the one who lived it.

We were 1700+ miles apart that night but my heart was in the room with her.

Today is June 10, 2010.

My Dad is in the hospital again--another bout with a post-stroke illness that will be typical of his days. His life is compromised severely and he has suffered more than he should. Yes, I am grateful for moments with him, for some good talks that we otherwise would have never had, but that is from my perspective. He didn't get a say in what happened to him.

Today Gail has a beautiful one year old daughter. But her first two daughters are not here and there is nothing that is right about that. Nothing.

I know everyone has pain in their lives. Everyone has grief.

And June 10th is a day, 24 hours long--no more, no less-- that will pass like any other day.

But it's important to remember.
So important to remember.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lowe's and annoyances and questions answered

I don't know why I'm having some trouble blogging lately.
As in, I sit down to type/post and I just sit here.

I mean, I have tons to say, and clearly I've never been too shy to share before. I have no idea what's going on.

I had written a rant post about some stupid new Lowe's commercial and a fertile couple's blathering about wanting to have a bigger family purely because of the super-fancy fridge the salesman was showing them (huh?). I was ranting not because they were fertile (ok maybe just a little bit) but because the mister and I are big believers in zero population growth and naturally we think everyone should feel the same way :) My mom taught me that concept as a young kid--I can remember her patiently explaining to me that I would not be getting a baby brother or sister because they had already 'replaced' themselves with my sister and I and that was the environmentally sound thing to do.

Paul Simon sang it best: "The planet groans every time it registers another birth."

Fertile or infertile, I do not believe in large biological families. I'm sure that offends some people but it's just my opinion. And true, the Lowe's couple could've been talking about adoption....

At any rate, now it seems I've just regurgitated that draft post and there it is.

On another note, there was a question in my comments section about pursuing adoption versus donor eggs.

It's complicated and then it's not.

Certainly we thought about donor eggs. I had several incredibly generous offers to have a known donor (though my request to my sister was met with a less than enthusiastic response, something that hurt nearly as much as the damned infertility in the first place, but it's water under the bridge now...), and then we considered anonymous donor as well. But not for very long. It just wasn't a good fit for me--I didn't like the idea of my husband's genetics combined with some other woman's genetics. It's an amazing gift, to donate an egg. I was too worried about how some woman might feel years later, maybe after she'd had a child of her own, about the egg she gave away when she was younger. And yes, I get that birth mothers likely experience similar emotions. Plus I wanted it to be out in the open right from the in physically obvious...that I wasn't genetically related to my child. Which is one of the reasons why we went international. But that's just me.

Then there's the whole non-guarantee of donor eggs. I've seen too many times where donor eggs didn't work. And that, folks, was something my heart just could not take. It's been trampled on too many times and it is screaming to be happy. Not that international adoption is without heartache in and of itself (see last post), but there is a fairly good chance we'll wind up with a child when all is said and done.

I completely understand that my logic is flawed and maybe even slightly crazy, so please no need to correct or persuade or try to make me see things differently.

Our decision has been made.

P.S. Do we get credit for negative population growth?

P.P.S. I'll end this right now because I just baked cinnamon rolls from scratch and while they don't look too purty, they sure smell divine and they're calling my name....

Friday, June 4, 2010

An untitled post. Oh wait...I just titled it.

I can hear the engines die, stalling,

I can see the clouds go by, falling,

I can feel my senses fry, dissolving,

But I still know my way home.

Gawd there is so much to say, but I really don't know where to begin.
I'm sitting here staring at the keyboard, my right ovary aching and aching, like it always does, right on time, as it nears ovulation.

We're adopting--it's true. But my body keeps on doing what it was designed to do--release an egg each month. A pretty useless egg, but an egg nonetheless.

I wish I could tell you that when you cross over into adoption the pain of infertility dissolves away, but you're smart enough to know that's not true. Adoption helps you cope with one loss and one loss only regarding infertility--and that's the loss of the ability to parent. And for that, I know I will be eternally grateful.

But my body still thinks it can procreate. Stupid, stupid body. And I still hurt over that stupid, stupid body.

Our dreams have shifted--we no longer talk about the genetic baby we would have created together. Instead, we talk about the diverse family we will create together.

It's going to be intense. It's going to be crazy. I'm sure we'll make one million mistakes.

But we just couldn't wait any longer.

Our hearts were aching to be parents.

We still feel alone--no one in our circles have adopted. We don't know any other infertiles in real life for whom treatment never worked. We must branch out and get to know some new friends in real life that have chosen this path.

Or did this path choose them/us?

As far as details, for now, I'll keep it brief.

We're adopting internationally. Our dossier has been officially registered for over two months now.

And so now we wait.

And try not to think about it. About the fact that a baby we might be lucky enough to parent is probably in utero now. Probably without the benefit of prenatal care. Probably under less than ideal circumstances. Probably without anyone pampering the mother, like I would have been.

Oh guys--I would have been such a pampered pregnant woman because I have the best husband in the world. Damn I'm going to miss that, something else that you miss without ever having had it in the first place.

I try not to think about a mother halfway around the globe who touches her belly and probably already knows she will not be able to parent her baby. And her heart is breaking.

Mine breaks for her, too.

I can hear the engines die, stalling,

I can see the clouds go by, falling,

I can feel my senses fry, dissolving,

But I still know my way home.