Friday, December 4, 2009
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky,
you'll get by
If you smile through your pain and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear
may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I look forward to jumping back into the game sometime soon! Hopefully, in early 2010.
Thanks for all your support.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Ryan and I attended the Sunday morning session. I went with a bit of apprehension.
Sunday morning Stake Conference has often been a reunion of sorts. It is a twice-a-year meeting in which I see those I have known in the past. We exchange greetings and small talk.
This doesn’t sound too terrible, except that I often see those I grew up with, leading their cluster of squirmy and restless children. Seeing these people again and noticing… “Oh, they have 3 children now” “That newlywed couple is pregnant already” “Wow, her kids have grown up”.
That is difficult.
I also see those adults who knew me as a child. For a while, the small talk centered around Ryan and I, and our family planning. “Any kids yet?”, although, that has faded over time (not sure if that is a good thing or not).
I am also apprehensive about the topics that will be presented. Family is a huge part of our beliefs, and it seems inevitable that the topic of parenting or the importance of families will be approached at some point. I remember a couple years ago hearing the good ol’ “multiply and replenish the earth – it’s a commandment!” sermon. Anxiously, I left the room as fast as I could, tears running down my face, bursting into the bathroom, only to see a girl I once babysat in there, rocking her baby.
So, sufficed to say, Stake Conference isn’t always my favorite day.
Even so, surrounded by family, I attended Stake Conference. As the speakers made their rounds, I leaned over to Ryan and said, “I haven’t heard the talk that was just for me. I want to hear something that was written just for me to hear.”
The last speaker was our Stake President. Sure enough, the topic turned to families. Children… and what blessings they are. Oh, no. Not again.
But then he said something I don’t think I will ever forget. He said, “I tread lightly on this topic, because I know there are some out there who are unable to have children.”
Oh my gosh, I wasn’t forgotten.
He went on to tell his story, of how he and his wife had their little family, but they always felt that there was another little girl who was supposed to be with them. Time passed, and soon his youngest was 18. He told God, “If this last child is meant to be with us, You better send her soon. I am not getting any younger here!” He was 48 years old when she was born. Their family finally felt complete.
He told the story about Abraham and Rebecca from the Bible. Upon learning they were going to finally have a son (in their late stage of life), they laughed, which can also be translated to mean rejoiced.
“And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”
I picture the laughing and rejoicing that will occur in my home someday.
With tears in his eyes, our Stake President talked about waiting those 18 years for their daughter. He admitted that there are some who wait longer, and without other children. Then he read the following from the Doctrine and Covenants: “The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
He talked about how, one way or another, we will all have our dominion, or our posterity. This was comforting to me.
After the Stake President had sat down, and we began to sing the closing song, Ryan leaned over to me and said, “Well, you got your talk.” I am grateful to the Stake President, and to my Heavenly Father, for not forgetting me this Sunday.
I received a package yesterday. It is a necklace which reads one simple word, “Eventually”. This word is a blessing and a curse. A comfort during times when I feel my situation will never change, and a reminder during times of anxiety and impatience.
My dominion will be everlasting someday, and without compulsory means it will flow unto me forever and ever. A promise that is worth waiting for, and will be mine… eventually.
Monday, November 16, 2009
For the last year or so, my monthly cycles have consisted of 5 - 7 days of spotting, then a day or two of nothing, followed by a 3 day period.
After one month of treatment with Dr. Oh, I had one day of light spotting, one day of heavier spotting, and then Day One of my cycle. A marked difference. Color and flow has also improved.
While last month we concentrated on decreasing the spotting, this month we are beginning the actual infertility treatment. I began Phase 1 of the herbs today, so we will see how this goes!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It took a bit of investigating, but I was able to speak personally with Jean Earhart, the Adoption Supervisor in my area for LDS Family Services.
She has confirmed that the fees to adopt using LDSFS will remain at 10% of your annual income, with a $10,000 cap. She knows of no planned increase as of right now.
After talking with many people on the subject, it appears they may have been considering an increase in fees, but have decided not to. So, for a while anyway, it seems we are safe!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Also, because the Morning After Pill is now available over the counter, the number of babies available for adoption has dramatically decreased.
For a person in my postition, this type of news is discouraging.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Like every other species, women are capable of loving a child as their own, regardless of their biology. And, as an adoptee myself, I can say a child is capable of feeling the love of a mother who did not give birth to them.
All women can be mothers.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Anyway, there was an elderly patient who was trying to convince his family that he needed to undergo a risky operation which seemed voluntary and unnecessary, but would “improve his quality of life”.
In talking with his family, the man said something to this effect (paraphrasing here),
“You don’t know what it is like for someone my age. I have already crossed all the milestones in my life: graduation, marriage, becoming a father, career, watching my kids grow up, becoming a grandparent… I look back and see so many yesterdays, and I don’t have very many tomorrows.”
Now, I do believe that no matter how old you are, there are many reasons to be excited for the future. Even so, there are those monumental milestones that nearly everyone achieves throughout his or her life. Once they are done, they are done. And all that’s left are the memories.
As I listened to the dialogue on television I thought, “Why am I rushing these milestones?”
All my life, I have always been waiting for the ‘next big thing’: graduation, marriage, graduation (again), career, and most of all CHILDREN. My eyes are fixed on the future, and don’t look around too much to enjoy the present.
The day will come that I will have children. By whatever means, I believe it will happen. Once that beautiful child is placed in my arms, I will have crossed that milestone. And things will never be the same again.
So while I wait with baited breath for that day to arrive, I try to remind myself to be patient. I don’t want to look back at my life and feel I rushed from event to event, without enjoying the journey I traveled to get there.
You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make.
-Gordon B Hinkley
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
"Imagine yourself dressed up in your finest clothes. You and your sweet husband are attending a dinner together in one of the nicest restaurants in town. You both have planned, waited and saved for this evening. To say the least, you are very excited! You and your husband arrive and the atmosphere is more than you expected. Everyone around you is having a good time. The chandeliers are sparkling, candles are glowing and sweet soft music is playing in the background. To your pleasant surprise you see others there you know. You are seated with them and in your heart you think there just couldn't be anything better!
The table is just exquisite. Breathtaking really. The people at your table begin to talk to you in jolly conversation. You glance at the menu and you don't even know where to begin! You look over everything slowly and carefully, especially the dessert menu! All of your life you have been hearing about this restaurant's marvellous and divine desserts. Deep in your heart, you have been looking forward to enjoying dessert the most!
Everyone at your table orders their food. For dessert they all order chocolate cake. You think, "Hey that sounds perfect. I'll have chocolate cake too please." The waiter nods in approval and quickly swifts off to put in your order. In the meantime, you are still enjoying the surroundings, the music and the company. You grab your husband's hand and sigh "Yes, life just couldn't get any better."
The food comes and everything looks just pleasing. Some of the things you tasted you really love, some of the things you didn't. Either way, you know that dessert is on its way. That thought in and of itself is just exciting! Then you see him, your waiter! Your wonderful, blessed waiter with a silver tray full of plates of chocolate cake! He comes and starts handing out plates to those you know. You look at the cake and to put it simply, it looks just divine. You're even more excited now! The waiter comes to your side and then passes you and your husband. You are shocked and think there must be some mistake. you don't know what to do, but rather than make a fuss you think, "Just wait, I will get my chocolate cake soon too."
Those that have their dessert are going on and on about how amazing the taste is. You smile, you are truly happy for them. Deep down you are anxious and their feelings only feed your curiosity and desire. Then you see the waiter again and think, "Ahhh, here he is." You notice that he starts handing out seconds and thirds to those that have already had their piece of cake. Your husband doesn't notice, he's busy chatting with the fellow next to him! Deep down though you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know something is wrong, something is very, very wrong.
You ask the waiter, "Excuse me please. Where is my chocolate cake that I ordered"? The waiter just replies, "The baker has said that you must wait." He rushes off and not another word is said. Time goes on. You still enjoy the surroundings, the people and the conversations. All the while though, you can't get chocolate cake out of your mind. Time keeps creeping by and soon your husband notices too, "Where is our dessert?" You hold his hand and look into his loving eyes and think, "Even without chocolate cake, life is still good."
Time, however, creeps and it creeps. At moments it seems like it has even stopped. It's getting late and people are noticing you haven't received your dessert yet. Questions start arising and you just don't know how to respond. You look around other tables and notice that people are also getting their third, fourth and fifth servings of dessert. "Why" is all you have to lean upon.
You notice that others have ordered things for dessert besides chocolate cake. There is cherry pie, brownie ice cream sundaes, raspberry cheesecakes and such. They seem just as pleased, if not more pleased with their desserts and you wonder, "Should I order cherry pie too"? You talk to the waiter and he simply says, "I'm sorry ma'am, you just need to be patient and wait."
You are starting to burn inside. Despite all of your best efforts you are beginning to boil. You really want to jump on top of the table and stomp while shouting, "Where is my chocolate cake?" You don't though because you know that will get you no where! Instead you look around and notice that there are some that are refusing their chocolate cake. "It will make me fat" one says. "Ugh. I have enough already" another states. One woman, simply dumps her beautiful chocolate cake onto the floor.
As you look deeper around you, you notice there are a few others that are waiting too. Your heart goes out to them. You smile and wish there was something more you could do. You know their pain and it hurts. It really hurts.
Finally, the waiter comes and he has chocolate cake on that familiar beautiful silver platter...and he has enough for two. One for your husband and one for you! Your so elated with joy that you can't hardly stand it!!! You tell everyone at your table and they are just as happy for you. "We knew it would happen" they say. "You just needed to relax"! Little did they know that deep inside relaxing was the last thing you were feeling! You look at your husband. Tears are in both of your eyes. You carefully take a taste. It's such sweet, sweet perfection. You go to take another and just before you do the waiter comes and gently takes your plates away. "Something is wrong" he says. "Don't worry my dear, the time is soon."
There's confusion. Sadness. Anger. Above all though, you are just deeply and truly heartbroken. Heartbroken to the very core. You don't know what to do. You turn to others for support. They cry with you and too ask why. You take a deep breath and find the strength to go on. You have been given the promise that you will receive dessert. It is just not understood as to when. You decide to put your full trust in the baker. You reach far inside within yourself and find the effort to ask your husband to dance.
He looks at you and smiles..."Yes, I would love to dance with you my dear one." You both get up, leave the table and set off to dance.
As you are dancing, you get your bearings. You again begin to notice your surroundings. The beautiful surroundings that have so magically grabbed your attention in the first place. You remember the music, the sounds, the smell of the sweet flowers. You breathe. That's all you can do. You breathe and slowly begin to enjoy the moment again. Slowly, it all comes back to you. The things you love. Being with the person you love the most. The pains you have just felt are still there. Still vulnerable, but you feel life again. Yes, life is still good.
After quite a few dances, you both decide it's time to sit at your table. People still have their desserts and their chocolate cakes. Your space is still empty. You decide, however, to really focus on those around you. In doing so you find more joy. The desire for dessert is still there- but it's manageable. Time moves on.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, your waiter appears. He has the biggest smile on his face. He is pleased to announce that you and your husband's dessert is finally here!! Your heart wells up with joy, but you're afraid too. You ask the waiter, "Will you take it away"? "No, this one was made especially for you." You smile back, hardly believing that this could be true or real. You look at it and it's not a dessert you have ever seen before. It's then that you realize that the baker has made a dessert with all of your favorite colors and flavors. Careful detail was lovingly taken into every consideration. "How did He know that this is exactly what I wanted"? The waiter just smiles and says, "Because he knows and loves you. If you look, you can see him there."
You look and at the door, through the little round window you see a gentle man with tears in his eyes. He is grinning from ear to ear and looking at you and your husband. You can't hardly see anymore because of all of the happy tears. You whisper a big "Thank You" and in your heart you feel that this simple phrase will never be enough.
You look at the people around you, they too have tears in their eyes. They too are smiling from ear to ear. Everything is so precious and tender now- even more so than when you first arrived here. It's then that you learn that the pains you have felt all along the way... the waiting, the crying, the agony....it's all been a special recipe to make this moment this much more wonderful and sacred.
In your soul you take a deep breath and slowly let out a big sigh of gratitude.
You grab your husband's hand and sigh again, "Yes, life just couldn't get any better."
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday I went back to acupuncture. Back, but to a new place. Instead of meeting with Tim, I searched out another advocate. I found "Dr. Oh".
Unlike Tim, Dr. Oh has had experience with patients dealing with infertility. Our first appointment went very well. Dr. Oh has put me on acupuncture every week, a strict regimen of four different herbs throughout my cycle, and orders to reduce stress (we'll see how that last one goes!). His methods have resulted in 4 successful pregnancies for his patients this year. The usual length of treatment before success is 2 1/2 to 3 months.
Now I know none of this is a guarantee that it could happen for me, but something else exciting happened yesterday. I had hope! I had nearly forgotten what that felt like.
In fact, the biggest part of this whole experience was that it happened at all. For the last couple years (since my unproductive surgery), I have felt hopeless... which slid into depression. Even last year, when I first tried TCM, I felt lost in my treatment and gave up.
So, after literally years of depression, the very fact that I have picked myself up, dusted myself off, and tried again speaks volumes.
Here we go again!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Creating a Family
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Before seeing this movie, I had no idea that Julia Child never had children, much less experienced infertility.
Towards the beginning of the movie, Julia and her husband are walking the streets of France. A woman walks by pushing a baby carriage. Those of us who have experienced infertility, or who knows someone who has, will recognize the longing look Julia gives the carriage as it passes by.
That exchange happened in a fraction of a second. But in that second, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Julia never had children. Julia couldn't have children.
I quickly looked at Ryan, shocked by the revelation. Just like a man (and I say that lovingly), he hadn't noticed the brief interaction between a barren woman and her lost dream. But I had.
This changed the entire outlook of the movie for me. As I watched Julia turn to cooking and food, and even writing as outlets, I recognized myself in her eyes. Trying to figure out your place in the world, after you've lost the role you've always wanted.
There is one scene in which Julia receives a letter from her newly married sister. Her newly married, and now pregnant, sister. Reading about her sister's pregnancy, Julia falls apart. Her husband tries to catch her, pressing her head to his chest as she cries. I looked at Ryan, and for the first time in what feels like forever, I felt like he could truly see inside my heart. Finally, he knew how I have felt over and over and over again.
I truly feel that this movie was an accurate demonstration of infertility, at least through my eyes. The determination of one woman to live through the newness of each day, and the willingness to experience a life that looks different than she ever thought it would. It was inspiring.
Oh, and speaking of inspiration, I really, really want to visit France someday too. :) Are you reading this, Ryan??? (hint, hint)
Those who aren't members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) may not know some of the amazing stories of pioneers who made their way across the country to the Salt Lake Valley. One of the most heartbreaking was the Martin Handcart Company.
Because of the unexpected delays and other unfortunate circumstances, over two hundred members of the Willie and Martin handcart companies died before they could reach the Salt Lake Valley. None of the other handcart companies coming to the valley before or after them suffered so many problems.
Some years after the Martin company made their journey to Salt Lake City, a teacher in a Church class commented how foolish it was for the Martin company to come across the plains when it did. The teacher criticized the Church leaders for allowing a company to make such a journey without more supplies and protection.
An old man sitting in the classroom listened for a few moments and then spoke out, asking that the criticism be stopped. He said, “Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it. … We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that company ever apostatized or left the Church, because everyone of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives, for we became acquainted with him in our extremities [difficulties].
“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.”
During our trials and struggles, do we ever look back to see who is pushing us through? I know there have been many times the angels of God have pushed me onward. How selfish I've been not to acknowledge that.
This gentleman (who had been through hell and back) stated, "Everyone of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives, for we became acquainted with him in our extremities. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay".
Is it possible to consider my trials, including infertility, as a privilege? It takes such a strong person to think of hardships in this way. I'm afraid I am not that strong.
Although I have never experienced a fraction of the heartache felt by the Martin Handcart Company, I believe in the last six years I have come to know God more now than I ever have before.
And for that, I am grateful.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I have mentioned it several times before: I never started this blog to receive sympathy or comments. It is a place to laugh and cry about the world of infertility. Someday, I hope my children will read this and know how much they are loved.
All of the support and encouragement that has come my way as a result of this blog has been unanticipated, but gratefully received. I fear I will never repay you for all the times you have lifted me up over the years. Some of you are dear, dear friends, while others I will never meet face to face. Regardless, you have touched my life and I am forever indebted. Thank you!
Friday, September 11, 2009
I moved my blog to another site, and allowed comments. Friends would leave encouraging words, and I took comfort in that. Then one day I discovered I wasn’t alone out there. Other people had blogs that talked about the same things mine did! It was so exciting. For some people, sending an email or leaving a comment was the first time they talked about their infertility to someone besides their spouse. They took comfort in my blog, and I theirs. So, when I moved my blog to blogspot, and noticed I could make people sign in to leave comments, I decided not to go that route. It was nice to have an open, supportive forum to share together.
I feel the anonymous comment left on September 9th (“Anonymous #1”) was not done to hurt me. On the other hand, I strongly feel that the person who made that comment does not know me personally. If she does, then she doesn’t know me well.
I try to bend over backwards to show love and compassion to mothers on a daily basis, sometimes to my own detriment. I firmly believe, if someone didn’t know I had infertility, they would not be able to tell by how I treat those around me. That is my goal at least. I make that decision every day. And then, on a day where I was at my lowest of lows, pouring my soul out, I am told to be kinder than necessary. That just broke my heart.
Looking back at my posts, a truly anonymous comment is rare. If the commenter felt okay with what she had to say, why didn’t she give her name? I was left to wonder: Who was she? Did I know her personally? Had I offended her in some way?
I say this with respect and love… Infertility is hard enough without having to answer those questions as well. Infertility is hard enough without having mystery people tell you to see things from the other side, and chastise your friends when they are trying to hold you up. I don’t know how many times I can say this: I understand motherhood is hard! I know that someday I will have trials greater than this one! So now that I’ve said that, please give me this little part of the internet oblivion to release my deepest thoughts, and gain comfort from those who know me or are also experiencing this infertility nightmare.
This blog is my solace. No one is perfect. I never thought I was.
For Anonymous #2: Those close friends in my life, the ones who have held my hand through every trial and wiped every tear, they knew how that comment would make me feel. They came to my defense; that was their intent. They were trying to make it a little easier on me. They are good people.
The remarks made on this blog in the last few days have caused me to question my comment set-up. As much as it saddens me, I am removing the anonymous option. There is now a sign-in required to leave a comment.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
It has nothing to do with the person saying it. It is something inside me that breaks when I hear those things. And while I do, 100%, agree with what I wrote that day, I think the true pain lies much deeper.
I am a busy gal, but with a husband who works nights and most weekends/holidays, there is a lot of time spent alone. There was a time when I would spend most of that time crying or simply sitting on the couch staring into space for hours. During that time, I found no joy in the things I used to love. I was depressed.
Now I feel better, and I have re-discovered those things I enjoy. I have filled up lonely holidays or Friday nights with cooking or baking or writing or scrapbooking or any of the other activities I forgot I loved. I feel like a person again.
So when someone reminds me that I only have time to do these things because I don’t have children, it’s like ripping a scab off an open wound. I would love to be taking my kids to the park on a holiday (or even nagging them to clean their room!) or making pizzas and watching a movie on a Friday night. But I don’t have those options. I am trying to make the best of what I have.
I do enjoy sleeping in on a Saturday, or reading a book on a Sunday afternoon. I am sorry if that makes moms feel jealous. But while they are jealous of those free hours I get, I yearn on an hourly basis for the lives they are living.
A person commented in the post below that things are difficult as a mom. She mentioned that you are now tied to someone else’s schedule, money is tighter, nerves are more raw. What she isn’t realizing is that I am already living that life in my own way.
Have you ever spent six years “scheduling” sex, and seen what that does to a marriage? Have you ever excused yourself from a business meeting at a specific time to go to the bathroom and give yourself a shot in the stomach? And then try to return as if nothing happened? Have you ever filled yourself full of hormones and experienced what that does to nerves? Undergone surgery only to find no answers? Let someone stick needles all over your body as you lay there choking tears back because you feel this is your last hope? Spent thousands of dollars trying to become a mom to no avail? Understood that it will cost $12,000 for a treatment that has a greater chance of not working, than working? Seen friends of yours wait years for a birth mother to choose them for adoption and wonder if that will be you too?
I have experienced all these things and more. I guarantee I have been tied to schedules, money’s been tight, and nerves have been raw. I am not saying my path is any more difficult than anyone else’s. In fact, I know my battle is a small one compared to others I have seen. Even so, just as the commenter said, everyone is fighting their own battle.
I don’t need to be reminded that my life is different than most married women my age. I don’t need to be reminded how my life would be different with children. I have spent hours on my knees begging to experience it for myself. I am trying to move on.
And that is the reason these statements hurt.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
‘Enjoy ______ now, because you won’t get to do it when you have kids.’
‘Once you have kids, you’ll never get to do ______ anymore.’
‘When you’re pregnant, you’ll be too absent-minded to ______.’
‘You only like doing ______ because you don’t have kids yet.’
I have been told I will no longer have dates with my husband. I will not be able to go to school or take a class because ‘pregnancy makes you dumb’. I won’t enjoy cooking or baking anymore. If you add these comments together, it appears the person I am, and have always been, will cease to exist once this blessed event occurs.
One of the benefits of waiting so long to have children is the opportunity I’ve had to see so many different people venture into motherhood. I have observed new mothers who become completely different people when their children are born. I’m not talking about priorities changing. That goes without saying. For example, I spend less time with certain friends because they are busy being moms. I fully understand that. But some mothers become a different person entirely.
Suddenly, they are incapable of discussing anything beyond child rearing. They moan and complain and sometimes don’t even seem to like their children. Nothing happening in your life is as awful, happy, or important as the latest events in their own life. There is a difference between making your children the center of your world (which makes sense), and expecting them to be the center of everyone else’s (which is a lot to ask).
I also find it ironic that many of the moms who tell me all of these things have plenty of time to watch TV, play around on the computer, or take long naps daily. I find it insulting when someone tells me I’ll have to give up digi-scraping when I have kids because I won’t have the time, but can also tell me the latest goings-on with a number of current TV shows. Contradiction, anyone?
Although I have never experienced motherhood, I am observant enough to know that things will change immensely. Time will be precious, and some things I do now will either be eliminated or have lower priority. I know that my number one mission will be to care for my children. I look forward to that!
But to jump from that to assuming all of the parts that make me who I am will disappear upon entering motherhood is crazy. I see many moms out there who have not lost themselves. In fact, motherhood has helped them discover more about who they are.
I have a couple of friends who have taken up photography, because taking pictures of their children opened up a creative outlet they hadn’t acknowledged in the past. Practically all of the cooking and baking blogs I follow are written by moms. I have attended college classes with many pregnant women who were anything but ‘dumb’. And, I am pretty sure I have seen couples who have children out on dates. Less often? Oh, yes. But never? Not necessarily.
Growing up, I knew a million things about my mom and what she enjoyed. I knew her favorite type of exercise was to work-out in the pool. That was ‘her’ time and I got that. I also knew she loved making people feel beautiful and was creative with hair and make-up. I knew she loved watching mysteries and crime drama on TV. And guess what? She loved all these things before me, she loved them while I was young, and she continues to love them today. That is who she is. I wonder what she would have thought if someone had told her she would no longer enjoy doing these things while she was a mom, and what that same person would have thought if (several years later) they saw a little girl snuggled up to her mom watching The Rockford Files on TV, or sitting on a booster seat in the salon chair while her mom practiced hairstyles on her. Loose myself in motherhood? My mom sure didn’t!
I love those future kidlets of mine, and I want to give them every part of who I am. I want them to know the interests, passions, and creative outlets that make me ME. Maybe I’ll be digi-scraping late at night while they sleep, but I’ll still be doing it. Maybe I’ll trade in my experimental recipes for kid-friendly ones, but I’ll still love to bake. I want them to know how important their father is to me and if it means they’re spending a night at the Grandparents’ every once in a while, well, I can think of worse things than that!
When it comes down to it, I think it is a choice. It may take effort, but I’m pretty sure you can hang on to a scrap of who you are during motherhood, without becoming a neglectful parent. Why can’t you include your children in what you love and watch those talents grow? Couldn’t it be argued that you could be a healthier, happier mom if you hung on to some of those things you enjoy?
Maybe I am just a naïve wanna-be, but that’s what I believe.
Well, that may be true for kids, but in the world of infertility, you can erase 10 negative comments with a kind word from one supportive friend.
I have many supportive friends and, without you beside me over the last 6 years, I might have crawled under my bed and never come out.
So, thank you. :)
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Now I've talked about Foster Parenting in the past, and my frustration with people throwing it at me as an option. Deciding to foster is such a personal decision, and not one to be suggested, or entered into, lightly.
But as I read the flyer, I felt a glimmer of excitement. I talked to Ryan and he was actually (surprisingly) supportive about the idea. He had questions, and we both felt cautious, but I have hung onto the flyer since that day.
Recently, Ryan and I decided to take a 10-year-anniversary trip. Once we return, we're climbing 'back on the horse' so-to-speak, and attempting once again to start our family.
In the meantime, I am passing time. Finding this flyer has helped give me purpose. If we were to foster parent or adopt, we get the opportunity to have strangers decide if we would be good parents. Part of this process involves them coming into our home and assessing it's suitability for housing a child.
And this brings me to my latest project: Operation Organization. I would imagine most people have cabinets, drawers and closets that are a bit, how should I say, cluttered? Well, I do too. So, I am in the process of decluttering and clearing out our house.
This includes our "3rd Bedroom", which will someday be our child's room. I have heard some people talk about getting a room ready for a child, and the pain they feel when the room stays empty. For some reason, I am feeling the opposite emotion. Clearing out that room is giving me hope. I know I will be a mother someday, and I feel that preparing for this fact helps it feel more real. What I am feeling is nice, so I am going with it for now.
Taking a second look at foster parenting feels nice too. I don't know if and how far we will pursue that avenue, but having it as an option seems right for us.
Regardless, for now, I am forcing my eyes upon greener pastures. Or maybe white, sandy beaches. Living and loving my best friend, helping with those fun and crazy teenage girls at church, reconnecting with girlfriends, and anxiously awaiting boarding that plane for Hawaii: these are the things I keep in the front of my mind. Every now and then the sadness returns, but I put a band-aid on it and keep going. Because that's what you do when you're passing time.
Quick Note: Should we choose to pursue foster care, I will be open and appreciative to opinions and obserations. Until that time, please don't bombard me with negative comments. I realize it can be a tough and heartbreaking process. Let me live in the dream for a while longer. Reality will come soon enough! Thanks.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
So what does that say about today? Have I graduated to a "Master's" degree now? Realistically, I haven't done one thing physically to pursue parenthood, although there certainly has been some emotional growth over these last two years.
Today is Ryan and my 9th anniversary. It's been an exciting 9 years and there were definitely some surprises along the way. Although some days I would never agree with this, as of today I don't think I'd change a thing. Maybe it's the celebration of the day that accounts for my Pollyanna attitude, but I choose not to analyze it; just enjoy it. Today, I am happy.
But please God, please don't make me earn a doctorate...
Sunday, August 2, 2009
"I will not leave you comfortless,
I will come to you."
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Recently married, one child, and pregnant with her second, she seemed to have everything I ever wanted. I wondered why everything seemed so easy for everyone else but me. Of course, staring at the computer screen, I only saw the happiness in her life, and not the hidden difficulties she might have been working through.
Never, NEVER compare your life with someone else. Never think things come easy to someone else. Never begrudge someone else's happiness.
This beautiful woman is now going through something I can not ever imagine, facing a horrible situation no one should have to experience. My heart is literally breaking for her.
There is a quote by Plato that reads, Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. We have no idea the difficulties and, sometimes, full-on tragedies that another person is experiencing behind closed doors.
Be grateful for the people in your life, the blessings you've been given, and the happiness you have. Never forget to look up from your own worries and say a prayer for someone else.
Friday, July 10, 2009
I remember well the day you left my side, wandered through the veil and ventured forth to fulfill you earthly mission. I had a tear in my eye as I clothed your spirit in a cloak of love and sent you off to school. Be assured that my thoughts are with you now, as always.
I love you with all of my heart. I know your life, the good, the bad, your grief, your disappointments, your unrewarded efforts, your frustrations. But always remember--all that I have is yours if you will only come home again.
Daughter, realize that in you I have placed a bit of heaven. No one was exempt. I love all of my children. You have some blessed gift, some talent, some little part of me in you. Search for it, develop it, use it, and most importantly, share it with others. If you really love me, then help others find themselves and lead them to me. Show your love by serving others.
Repent of your failings and humble yourself. Make yourself ever teachable and continually strive to improve. I gave you weaknesses to help you be humble. Don't condemn me for that. I did it because I love you. Be full of hope. Don't let discouragement engulf you. I'll come if you need me.
Daughter, cease your idle contentions. Be a peacemaker, for it breaks my heart to see so many of my children fighting. If they could only see what I have hoped, planned and desired for them. My heart breaks as I watch them. But you, faithful daughter, are my hope. It is through you that my work must proceed. You haven't much time and there is so much work to be done. I beg you to get started. Accomplish the mission I gave to you before you left me. I'll help you. I'll never be too busy or too far away to come to you. I'm nearer to you always than you might suspect. I have so much I would like to tell you, but I can't here.
Come to me often in prayer. I love to talk to you, my beloved daughter. Be diligent in my work and my kingdom shall be yours. I'd love to take you in my arms, but I too, must wait patiently: that time will come. Till then I leave you my peace, my blessing, my love, and never forget I am nearby whenever you need me.
I love you and miss you so very much and, oh, how I am looking forward to your return to me.
All my love,
Your Heavenly Father
This 'letter' truly feels like it was written for me. I especially love the line, I gave you weaknesses to help you be humble. It seems so obvious now, but I had never thought of it quite that way before. I am trying to become humble so that someday, as the scripture says, my weaknesses can become strengths.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
I barely knew her, so I was a bit nervous dropping off the pizza I had picked up for them on the way home from work. I practically threw the pizza in her arms and almost rushed away without even seeing the baby!
Nearly three years later, tonight in fact, I again took dinner to this new mom. She had her third child last Friday. This beautiful woman has had three children, while I am still waiting for one.
She is the sweetest gal, and I like her very much. As I left their house (a mother, father, and three young children), I couldn't help but think how strange it is to watch someone else live your life. Not really your life, but the life you always thought you would have.
Being Mormon, I am constantly surrounded by other people living my life. They are everywhere I look. Their families grow, year after year, and I stay the same.
Learning to live a life that is different than you imagined is a work in progress. I'm not sure I will ever be completely content with where I am right now. So, I am trying to enjoy the process.
A while back, I compared my infertility to a miserable but incredibly rewarding hike I did last summer. Since then, I have noticed even more how similar these experiences really are.
I recently heard a song that uses the same climbing analogy, encouraging you to learn to enjoy (or at least appreciate) the journey. I am supposed to be learning something from all this. What? I still don't know. Maybe that's the reason I've been climbing for so long...
I can almost see it
That dream I'm dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head sayin,
You'll never reach it.
Every step I'm taking
Every move I make
Feels lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I got to keep trying
Got to keep my head held high
There's always going to be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb
The struggles I'm facing,
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down but
No I'm not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments
That I'm going to remember most
Just got to keep going
I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on
There's always going to be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb
Monday, June 1, 2009
On one hand, I am truly excited for them, and grateful they have moved on to the next adventure.
On the other hand, a small part of me can't help but feel a little deflated. Why not me? I've been waiting longer.
It's then I have to remind myself that parenthood is not a first-come, first-served blessing.
And so I wait...
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
For some reason, I always had a boyfriend or an admirer at that time of year. I didn't plan it that way, it just always happened. As Valentine's Day would roll around, I felt no dread, only excitement about the potential surprises that awaited me from whatever love interest I had at that time. I was also anxious to surprise him with something fun.
I'm sure I thought about those who had no romantic prospects. I consider myself an empathetic person, for the most part. I must have experienced a fleeting consideration for those who found that day to be depressing and lonely. Seemingly, however, I must have moved on quite quickly to the excitement of my day.
I have no doubt that, should motherhood have come easily, I would have had the same attitude toward Mother's Day. Consumed in the pleasures that came with celebrating and being celebrated, I imagine any thoughts about those left out would have been brief. I know I would have felt sad for those who had no mother to celebrate, but I hesitate to think I would have remembered those who remained childless.
Among the millions of people living in this country, there were surely millions who felt pain this Mother's Day. Some were people who's mother passed away. Others were people who never knew their mother or are estranged from their mother. Also, there were mothers hurting because they have lost their children and those mothers whose husbands / children did not make Mother's Day special for them, leaving them disappointed. And, of course, there are the women who could not become mothers.
When Father's Day rolls around, these same painful feelings will be felt by a whole new set of people.
This Mother's Day, I reflected on holidays in general and found myself dividing them into two categories: event oriented and people oriented. Event oriented holidays would include those holidays that celebrate an event: Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
The second set celebrates people. There are holidays that celebrate groups of people in a community sense, such as Veteran's Day. Then there are the holidays that celebrate individual people in a relationship sense: Mother's Day, Father's Day, even Valentine's Day.
Now I'll throw something out there... Do we really need these 'relationship' holidays? I'm not saying we don't. It was just an interesting thought to explore.
We have Valentine's Day to celebrate the love between two people. Couldn't that be done on an anniversary? And in a much classier, personalized, and intimate way? No more paying $200 for a sad vase of flowers and trying to make reservations in an over-crowded, over-priced restaurant. You celebrate your love on a day that is special to YOU. Or you could celebrate these people just because you love them. I have to say that I don't remember many things Ryan did for me on various Valentine's Days, but I'll never forget the random day he sent me flowers just because.
Likewise, Mother's Day and Father's Day are there to show our parents how much we love and appreciate them. Couldn't this also be done on a day that special to your relationship? Their birthday? YOUR birthday? What about sending a note to mom, or taking Dad out to dinner just because you love them. Seems this would mean so much more. No longer is your kind gesture perceived as fulfilling a societal obligation, but it is now a token of selfless giving. I would love to wake up and find my children greeting me with soggy cereal and burnt toast on a random Saturday morning, not because it was Mother's Day and it was expected.
I know mothers work hard and are often times unappreciated. I fully believe that having a day to honor them is wonderful. I enjoyed visiting with my Mom this year on Mother's Day. I look forward to sharing Mother's Day with my children someday.
But even when that day comes, I know that Mother's Day in my eyes will always be different than it would have been, had motherhood come easy. I will never be able to enjoy it as carefree as I enjoyed those Valentine's Days long ago. A little bit of the innocence and blissful naivete has been lost. On that day, my thoughts will always wonder toward that 'other' group of women: the ones gritting their teeth, swallowing their tears, and praying for the day to be over.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
So, Mother’s Day… You would think after 5 previous heart-breaking Mother’s Days, I’d be used to it by now! Well, this one was better than some, and I made it through alright. I had one tiny breakdown in the shower, but the day seemed to get better as time progressed.
The following is a memoir of my day. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Notice how the good completely outweighs the bad…
- Having my parents over that evening for dessert.
- Giving my mom a card and a poem.
- Having my mom alive, healthy, and able to celebrate with me.
- Avoiding having to stand there with all the ‘real’ moms at church to accept my “Mother’s Day treat”
- My Bishop saving me a “Mother’s Day treat”, finding me in the hallway to give it to me, and offering words of encouragement.
- Getting to be in Sunday School and the Young Women’s classes. The Sunday School lesson was on the Sabbath Day and the YW lesson was on the Priesthood. No ‘Mom’ references anywhere! Last year, I was in Primary, helping the kids make something for their moms and answering their questions about why I’m not a mom, even though I’m old. (Good luck explaining infertility to a 7-year-old!)
- Taking my usual Sunday nap, and wondering how many moms actually get to do that on Sundays.
- Emails and cards from dear friends who were thinking about me. People who asked how I was doing. You know who you are. That was above and beyond. It’s nice not to be completely ignored on Mother’s Day!
- Did I mention the “Mother’s Day treat” was See’s Candy???
- Almost having to teach the young women’s lesson last minute. I had horrid visions flash before my eyes that the topic would be Motherhood.
- Carrying anxiety that at any moment someone could say something that would make me lose it.
- Having to answer, “No, I’m not a mom” to the people who asked.
- The general feeling of bitterness that I kept swallowing down all day, and the guilt that comes from such a feeling.
- Logging into Facebook to see page after page of friends wishing other “mommy friends” a happy Mother’s Day. Not to take away from their celebration, it was just hard reading about the sweet things their children were doing for them. Made me excited for the future, but sad for the present.
So there is the breakdown. Not too shabby!
A couple years ago, there was a total meltdown that led to the breaking of a COMMANDMENT in the frantic search of solace. As LDS church members, we believe in keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Part of that is not shopping, going out to eat, etc on Sunday. Well, that Mother’s Day was so bad, as I was sobbing in the front seat, Ryan drove me straight to Baskin Robbins. When I looked up and wondered why we were there, he simply said, “Get out of the car. We’re getting ice cream.” The poor guy didn’t know what else to do with me!
As I said, I’ve had worse. This one, not so bad! Maybe they’ll get better over time?
Only 363 days until I find out! Let the countdown to next Mother's Day begin…
This Mother’s Day post will be continued. I have been having some interesting thoughts about Mother’s Day, and certain holidays in general, which I plan to share at a later time.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I typically leave for work before hubby gets home. However, this morning, I was pretty tired and decided to sleep in.
Hubby came home and, after some chatting, we had the following conversation:
R: Well, don’t you have something to show me?
R: Don’t you have something to show me?
Me: (After some thought) Do you mean a pregnancy test???
R: Yeah, when I got home and opened the garage door and saw your car still there, I thought you had stayed home and waited because you had something to show me.
Me: Oh, well, I wasn’t thinking about something like that… I wouldn’t get your hopes up…
Me: You look disappointed…
R: Maybe we’re switching roles…
It was really nice to see him disappointed. I know that sounds mean, but after years of feeling alone in this struggle, it’s nice to feel that we are playing on the same team. Don’t get me wrong, he has been very supportive of me. Just not emotionally invested in the goal. I caught a glimmer of that today and it felt great!
Side Note: I plan to address the topic of Mother’s Day 2009, just haven’t been able to yet. I have many, many thoughts and look forward to sharing them soon.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This quote is the theme throughout the movie. Both Ryan and I really enjoy the movie, and watch it on occasion. Every once in a while we will joke with each other and someone will say dramatically, “I choose us”.
Over the last 6 years, I have been dedicated to beginning a family. Many of my decisions were directly related to this goal. I purchased a ‘family friendly’ vehicle (and when that one wore out, I purchased another). I chose a career that I enjoy, but also has an awesome opportunity to work part-time and from home. We bought a house.
During this time, I would freak out a bit inside when we would spend money on recreational things. I couldn’t fully enjoy it, as I felt any unnecessary purchase was pushing my dream of parenthood further and further away.
But now, I am starting to see things a bit differently. We received a tax refund this year, and anticipate another next year. Together, these refunds could pay for 3 fertility treatments, or put us 1/3 of the way towards having enough money for adoption. It’s possible this money could be what I need to begin my family.
But then I look at Ryan and all he has done for me, and for us. We will be married 10 years next year and, in all that time, we have never taken a ‘real’ vacation. We haven’t flown somewhere new or gone on an adventure. Over the last 10 years we have had ups and downs and everything in between. We’ve worked hard and accomplished much. Where’s the reward? What about us?
I have spent so much time and energy trying to ‘start’ a family, I nearly forgot about the family I already had. Yes, Ryan and I are a family and (someday) when the kids are grown and gone, it will just be us again. We were a family first. Having a baby doesn’t make a family, it just adds to it.
I have decided that we should use that money to take a fun and romantic vacation, just Ryan and I. By the time we go (next year), we will have gotten ourselves in financial order. Once we return, it is back to the task at hand: beginning our forever family. I plan to jump head first into the baby world and I have faith in the process. Should pregnancy happen while we wait, then that is wonderful. If not, we will always have the memories of this vacation to look back on.
I don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps sometimes you need to forget the plan. There is a lot I am unsure of. What I do know is we will have our family someday.
But, in the meantime, I choose us.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I remember the only time I have dreamed about children. It was 2004 and we had been trying to conceive for about 6 months. I had a really vivid dream where I was a mother to a newborn baby boy. It felt so real, that I shot up in bed and looked around for him when I woke up. I remember thinking how strange it was that I dreamed of a boy, as I have always thought my first baby would be a girl.
Since that time, I haven't dreamed about anything parenthood. In the last two years, I haven't dreamed much at all. I'm not sure why, but over the last few months, I have begun dreaming again; many, many dreams.
Last night, I dreamt again about a little boy. This time, he was about a year old. I was laying on the floor and he crawled on top of me. He grabbed my shirt at the shoulders with his pudgy little hands and hugged me, resting his head on my upper chest.
I remember what I felt at that moment: a pure sense of joy. The kind of joy I haven't felt in a long time. Pure happiness.
I wasn't sad when I woke up, just wistful. But I dismissed the dream quickly, got ready for the day and headed to church.
In church this morning, the speakers spoke about signs. One thing that was said today was that signs are not to give you faith, but to reward the faithful. You can't demand a sign from God to prove Himself to you, but He can choose to reach out and touch you, if He sees fit. As they talked, my thoughts wandered to my dream.
I am not saying my dream was a sign. What I do think is that instead of dismissing it, I should take it as a tender mercy from God. It was a glimpse of what may be in store for me someday. When you've spent the last 6 years climbing the mountain of infertility, it's sometimes nice to see what might be waiting for you on the other side.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
But there is an interesting aspect about this picture that only I think about when I see it. These eyes contained a lot of pain. This picture was taken days before I finally sought help from my doctor. During the trip to see Ryan, I didn't really want to leave the hotel room. Here we were together in beautiful SoCal, all expenses paid, and I felt most comfortable in bed in a tiny, dark hotel room. I spent an entire night of the trip crying next to him while he slept. And I mean an entire night. Although I was pleasant towards him, I was miserable inside.
Months have passed since that time.
Recently, a dear friend and up-and-coming photographer, Isa Sabey offered to take some pictures of us. We hadn't had someone do that for us in years. Here is one of the pictures:
This shot is one of those 'candid' ones Isa snapped when we were laughing at something or other (probably at how awkward we felt having our picture taken).
When I look at this picture, I see a woman who is happy. It has been said that the 'eyes are the window to the soul'. Well, to me, I can see a sparkle in these eyes that has been missing for a long time.
People say a result of seeking help for depression is that you feel like yourself again. Over these five years of dealing with infertility, I had forgotten who I was. I feel like the Michelle from years past. I actually like myself again.
In high school, I was told that I 'always have a smile'. My drama teacher would laugh at me because, even in the most dramatic scene, my eyes were always twinkling. She said, no matter what my face was doing, it was impossible for me not to look happy.
I wouldn't say I'm at that point yet, but I am getting there. I find myself excited about life.
Two days ago, I bought myself a designer purse. The significance of that? Well, for years I have told everyone how much I hated shopping. I don't remember the last time I bought myself something nice. I would go clothes shopping, but refuse to try anything on. Looking back, I realize I didn't really like myself. Not only that, but anytime I (or Ryan for that matter) would purchase something, I would feel that it was pushing my dream of motherhood that much further away. I allowed myself no joy in treating myself unless it was directly related to my goal. The only exception was food. Food was now my comfort.
How things have changed! I find joy in so many things now, including the occasional purchase of something nice just for me. Many people talk about 'retail therapy', but it turns out I only like to treat myself when I feel good.
I could go on and on with the changes happening around here. I could talk about the many times I have turned to Ryan in amazement and said, "I just feel so happy". I can say that I have gone from crying several times per day, to twice in 2 months, and both of those were spiritually related.
The point is that now I feel I can see infertility for what it is, a hard and difficult trial that I pray everyday will have a resolution soon. But, regardless, infertility doesn't define me anymore.
I am a member of the LDS church. I love to cook and bake new things. I like to write. I am learning to be a financial planner and have the best co-workers in the world. Autumn is my favorite season. I work with the teenage girls at church and love it. My favorite smells are the mountains, chopped cilantro, and freshly baked cookies. I like to go camping and visit big cities. I love my kitties and talk to them like they are people. I like the color green, but I don't look good wearing it. I am a wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, who longs to also add "mother" to that resume someday.
I still feel sadness when I think of our empty house. I still have days where I don't want to talk about babies or pregnancy or adoption. I still hear the ticking clock in the background and hope I can start my family before it's "too late" (whatever that means).
But I also feel happy. Every day is a pursuit of happiness now. And most days I am winning.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
A recent article I posted on this blog explained the caution one should take in suggesting advice to an infertile. Most likely, we've heard it many times before. We are aware of the options, and are pursuing the course of action that makes the most sense for us in our lives at this time.
However, I have chosen to expose myself and my life on the Internet. In doing so, I understand that well-meaning people will give their opinion. And, since I seem to get the same suggestions often, I feel an explanation on a few of them from my point of view might be helpful. We'll start with the suggestion given most recently by a commenter.
1. Why don't you become a foster parent?
Even before we had decided to start a family, I had the desire to be a foster parent someday. I think Ryan and I would be great foster parents. We have the ability to love a child instantly, we are both patient and loving people, and I think opening up our home to a child in need would be fantastic.
Unfortunately, I have seen into the world of the foster care system and I know the difficulties that are there. My parents, as well as other relatives of mine, have fostered children before. Typically, the goal for the foster home is temporary placement. The county aims to return the child into the arms of their biological family, if at all possible. I have seen the devastation on the face of a foster parent when the child they have loved is removed from their home. It doesn't matter if you knew that was a possibility all along. It is still really, really hard.
Sometimes, foster parents are able to adopt their child, but this is not usually guaranteed.
Having said that, I also know that great joy can come from being a foster parent, and I wouldn't rule it out completely. But my wanting and yearning to be mother is so great, I am simply not strong enough to sign up for that kind-of situation right now.
I am looking for a forever family. I hope one day that could include foster children as well. But at this point, I would need a strong indication that they could be mine forever before I would pursue that path.
2. Why don't you use a surrogate?
First it should be noted that using a surrogate costs tens of thousands of dollars. So, this suggestion shouldn't be made lightly. You are talking about a major financial burden here, and one that many simply couldn't afford.
That being said, in my case, I believe pursuing a surrogate would be jumping a few steps ahead in my treatment plan. My understanding is that a surrogate works well for women who have chronic miscarriages, who have difficulty carrying a child. I have never been confirmed pregnant, so I have no idea whether I could carry a child.
If I end up able to become pregnant, but unable to carry the child, I would personally adopt rather than pursue a surrogate. I don't feel a strong need to have my own genetic child. I, myself, am adopted so I am very open to that!
Unless things were to change drastically, I don't see myself searching for a surrogate any time soon.
And, no, it is not funny when other women offer to carry your child for you. And it sure isn't funny when men offer their wife for this purpose either.
3. Why don't you just adopt?
I have no idea what causes people to automatically add the word 'just' before the word 'adopt'. Do people not know the massive emotional, spiritual, financial, and mental undertaking that adoption is? If not, I'd suggest reading this article again.
I mentioned in the last question that I am a adopted child. I love adoption. Whether I have biological children or not, I hope to adopt someday.
But unless you plan to give me $10,000 to adopt, please don't nonchalantly suggest it, and wonder why I haven't done it already. It is horribly expensive, and I am bitter enough that money has delayed parenthood for years. I don't need a reminder.
And, just for the record, only 2% of adopted couples go on to have biological children. So, if you are planning to suggest adoption as a way to achieve a miraculous pregnancy, I would re-think that thought. Adoption is beautiful way to create a family, not a means to an end.
4. Would you do IVF?
Not sure. For a long time, I said no. IVF averages $12,000 or more. I always thought I would adopt before pursuing that type of treatment. However, now I'm not willing to say one way of the other. Through prayer, Ryan and I will decide if this is something we want to try at one point.
5. Would you live childless?
I don't see how I could do that. I know women who have: strong, beautiful women. But it is just not something I can see for myself. I understand that, at some point, I might not have a choice. But that thought is devastating to me right now, so I refuse to even acknowledge it.
I am so honored that she thought of me and my little blog. :) I am blessed to have found real women out there who love and support me, and I them. TTC is a crappy journey to be on, but I am comforted that we share it together.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Over time though, I have learned that Ryan's method of support is (most of the time) exactly what I need. Although I think I want to be babied and coddled, what I actually need is to laugh.
Last night, we had a dinner for the ladies in my church. I was at a table with all the young moms. I, of course, was the only one there who wasn't a mom. We played a game in which we had to find a woman in the room who matched different criteria. I was mistaken (as I usually am) as a 'newlywed', or 'someone married less than 2 years'. People thought I would match that criteria. Why? Because I have no children, people automatically assume that I am newly married. Over time it's become quite amusing to see their face when I tell them it will actually be 9 years in August.
Anyway, I digress.
I had a fun time last night, really I did! But I still came home a little blue. Sometimes it's hard to be so different from everyone else in my age group.
I was expressing this to Ryan while he was on his way out of the house to leave for work. As he was climbing in the car he paused, and said in a firm voice,
"Go in there, put your PJs on, turn on the Food Network, relax on the couch, and think about all those moms out there trying to get their kids to just go to sleep!"
So... I did!
And that, my friends, is how some hubbys comfort their wife. :)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
It has been nearly six years since I started trying for a child. This means approximately 75 cycles waiting, wondering, and ultimately being disappointed.
This cycle was a little bit late. I had every reason in the world to believe pregnancy wouldn’t happen this time. Why should this one be different than the 74 cycles that came before?
But that hope was still there. Smaller than before, harder to find, but impossible to deny.
Inevitably, it always ends the same, as reality rears its ugly head. I am fortunate that I don’t go through the entire grieving process with each disappointment, as I used to.
Instead I just marvel at the persistence and unwavering that is HOPE.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I don't just want a baby, a child. I want my baby, my child.
I firmly believe that our children are predestined to be our children. Somehow, someway they find their way to us.
I have a friend on my support group (I hope she doesn't mind I share this) who had begun the adoption process. In the beginning, she didn't feel a huge sense of urgency. All of a sudden, one day, she felt strongly that she needed to get their paperwork in order right now. It was an overnight realization, and from then on she was full speed ahead, even without really knowing why.
A short time later, they were pulled into their case worker's office. He asked if they had a crib. Turns out, a baby had been born and my friend matched the birth mother's criteria exactly. Before even getting their background check finished, they were to become parents. Now it was clear why the urgency was there. They needed to be ready for their baby.
Another friend recently adopted as well. I had known about the possible opportunity, and had felt a little sad that I wasn't in the position to pursue it. My friend did instead, and I felt a little jealous. Until I saw her baby. In that instant, it was obvious. This was not my baby, it was hers, and meant to be with them.
So, I know that there are special spirits meant to call me mom. The mystery is how I will find them and when. As time goes on though, I become more convinced that I will find them someday. Even though I feel a twinge of sadness or jealousy when I see others start their family, I try to remind myself that just because someone else becomes pregnant or adopts, doesn't mean I never will. They aren't having my baby. :)
My babies are still waiting for me, just like I wait for them, and I know they are worth the wait!
... the waiting is the hardest part ... So true, so true!
Friday, February 27, 2009
One of these gifts is a love for animals. Now, I've had pets before and I've always loved them, but this is different.
Cosmo (yes my cat) has seen me cry more than anyone else. He lets me hold him, even when I can tell he doesn't like it. When Ryan leaves for work and I look around my big empty house, he makes it not seem so empty.
Recently we got another cat, Bella. It's been fun having her here too. Cosmo has a playmate, and I have another cuddlebug.
Cosmo and Bella have helped fill a deep hole in my heart and made the waiting not as painful. Had I been able to have my family right away, I'm not sure I would have pets, or think of them as kindly as I do. Now I know there will always be a place in our home for them.
Infertility has given me a love for animals. I am thankful for that.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I am so lucky to have the friends I have, and I am grateful for them in my life, especially during this difficult time. I hope to be as good a friend to you during the times you struggle!!!
By Vita Alligood
Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than five million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.
Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.
The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.
As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. Most infertility treatments involve using hormones, which alter the user's moods. (That statement is like calling a lion a cat-my husband would tell you that the side effect is insanity!) The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money. Infertility treatments are expensive, and most insurance companies do not cover the costs. So, in addition to the pain of not conceiving a baby each month, the couple pays out anywhere from $300 to five figures, depending upon the treatment used.
A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:
They will eventually conceive a baby.
They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.
Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.
Don't Tell Them to Relax
Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.
Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.
These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.
Don't Minimize the Problem
Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.
Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.
Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?
Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.
People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.
Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.
Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"
There are many reasons why a couple would choose not to pursue this option. Here are a few of them.
IVF is Expensive with Low Odds
One cycle of IVF is very expensive. With all of the hype in the news, many people assume that IVF is a sure thing when, in fact, the odds of success for each cycle are low. Most couples cannot afford to try for one month, much less for multiple times. Considering that it also costs a significant amount of money to adopt a baby, many couples opt for the "sure thing" rather then risking their money on much lower odds.
IVF is Physically Taxing
Undergoing IVF treatments is very rigorous. The woman must inject shots into her thigh daily to cause her ovaries to superovulate. The drugs used are very taxing on the woman, and they can cause her to be become extremely emotional.
IVF Raises Ethical Issues
Ironically, couples who undergo IVF to become parents may have to selectively abort one or more fetuses if multiple eggs are fertilized. Many couples cannot bring themselves to abort a baby when they have worked so hard to become parents. If the couple chooses not to selectively abort, they run the risk of multiple births.
Don't Offer Unsolicited Opinions If They Are Trying IVF
On the flip side of the coin, don't offer unsolicited advice to your friends who do choose to try IVF. For many couples, IVF is the only way they will ever give birth to a baby. This is a huge decision for them to make, for all of the reasons I outlined above.
If the couple has resolved any ethical issues, don't muddy the waters. IVF is a gray area in many ethical circles, and many of our moral leaders don't yet know how to answer the ethical questions that have arisen from this new technology. If the couple has resolved these issues already, you only make it harder by raising the ethical questions again. Respect their decision, and offer your support. If you can't offer your support due to ethical differences of opinion, then say nothing.
A couple who chooses the IVF route has a hard, expensive road ahead, and they need your support more than ever. The hormones are no cakewalk, and the financial cost is enormous. Your friend would not be going this route if there were an easier way, and the fact that she is willing to endure so much is further proof of how much she truly wants to parent a child. The hormones will make her more emotional, so offer her your support and keep your questions to yourself.
Don't Play Doctor
Once your infertile friends are under a doctor's care, the doctor will run them through numerous tests to determine why they aren't able to conceive. There a numerous reasons that a couple may not be able to conceive. Here are a few of them:
Blocked fallopian tubes
Low hormone levels
Low "normal form" sperm count
Low progesterone level
Low sperm count
Low sperm motility
Thin uterine walls
Unexplained (I added this one!)
Infertility is a complicated problem to diagnose, and reading an article or book on infertility will not make you an "expert" on the subject. Let your friends work with their doctor to diagnose and treat the problem. Your friends probably already know more about the causes and solutions of infertility than you will ever know.
You may feel like you are being helpful by reading up on infertility, and there is nothing wrong with learning more about the subject. The problem comes when you try to "play doctor" with your friends. They already have a doctor with years of experience in diagnosing and treating the problem. They need to work with and trust their doctor to treat the problem. You only complicate the issue when you throw out other ideas that you have read about. The doctor knows more about the causes and solutions; let your friends work with their doctor to solve the problem.
Don't Be Crude
It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don't make crude jokes about your friend's vulnerable position. Crude comments like "I'll donate the sperm" or "Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination" are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.
Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.
The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.
Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."
I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.
Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.
Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.
Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.
Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition
Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.
Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized.
Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.
You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.
Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.
So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lesson the load. Here are a few ideas.
Let Them Know That You Care
The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.
Remember Them on Mother's Day
With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.
Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.
Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments
No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.
Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.