Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Not sure what y'all are doing, but I'm blogging. And reading everyone else's blogs. I love getting comments on my blog b/c then I have new blogs to check out! So, thank you.

I'm not much into Halloween. K, on the other hand, is overly into it. He has been preparing for weeks. He has encased our entire entrance-way in black and installed multiple black lights. He bought himself a skeleton costume and is intent on scaring children. Oh, and he has spooky music playing out the window. He's been very excited about his plans and wanting to talk them through with me. I have to admit that I've not been overly interested. He's a bit over the top sometime. But, while I'll never admit this to him, it's kinda cute. He gets so excited over the silliest stuff. Which is one reason I know he will be such a good father. In fact, he's already planning how he is going to bring his costume and accessories to have fun with the nephews over Christmas.

Nothing new to report on the adoption front. We still haven't gotten any information from the agency that we are waiting on, but I did talk to the director again today and I expect we'll have something by tomorrow or Friday. I worked on our profile a little bit last night. As I was messing around with it I realized that I've never actually seen anyone else's adoption profile. K's sister was going to send us hers but somehow that never happened. And come to think of it, I think his brother was supposed to send us their's as well. Hmmm... The abbreviated profile we sent out to friends and family has gotten a good response though, so I'm thinking that our's will be ok.

The one really good thing about Halloween is that we have a lot of chocolate in the house. As K is busy being a skeleton, I'm thinking that he is probably not going to get around to making dinner. Seeing as how I've almost given up cooking completely in the last several months (alright, alright it's probably more like a year), I'm thinking that chocolate may be my dinner. Along with another glass of wine. And possibly some more tortilla chips. I know, I'm a health nut. So I'm off to raid our candy bowl. Trick or treat!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Walking anxiety attack

Is it possible to have an anxiety attack that just continues on and on? Because that is what I am feeling like at the moment. Not like severe, I can’t breathe, I think I’m going to die anxiety but more like a mid- to low-level, near constant feeling of anxiousness. It’s giving me an upset stomach, I can’t concentrate and I am not sleeping well. Issues are going on with my father that I can’t even bring myself to write about that are adding to my already anxious state. K jokingly said that perhaps worrying about my dad would distract me from my worries about adoption, but I quickly informed him that he was way underestimating my ability to worry. I can in fact worry about multiple things all at the same time with an equal sense of dread and dismay for all of them. A feat for which I am sure he envies me greatly.

On the adoption front, nothing much has happened. Other than my near obsessive searching of Internet sites on adoption and dedicated hunt for the right agency, no decisions have been made nor actions taken. I believe we are narrowing in on an agency, but that is based only on their website and a phone call with the director. I am still waiting to receive an application and information in the mail. Hopefully, everything we receive via mail will line up with what I heard over the phone (which hasn’t always been the case thus far), and we will feel comfortable moving forward with them.

The only piece of news I have is no news at this point but I’ll go ahead and write about it anyway. We received an email from a birthmother last weekend. I immediately wrote her back and we exchanged several emails over the next several days. She had apparently seen our profile on a free online adoption posting website that I had created a couple of weeks ago. We arranged for her to call us on our toll-free number mid-week. I worked from home that day and was an absolute nervous wreck waiting for her call. Which never happened. She did email to say that she was sick and would try to call the next day, but we haven’t heard from her since.

Now the thing is, we have no way of knowing whether she was legitimate or not. Unfortunately, I have read too many instances of couples being scammed to be very trusting. On the other hand, she could absolutely be sincere and there are a million reasons why we haven’t heard back from her. But I’m not going to pursue it. If she writes again or calls – great and we will continue to cautiously pursue getting to know each other. But if she doesn’t, nothing has really changed. Except that I am now even more eager to sign with an agency.

This very small experience of being in touch with a birthmother made me realize that this is not something I want to do on our own. I want an adoption professional in our corner advising us and working with us, and I also want to know that the woman or couple that we are matched with has a professional to work with and to advise and counsel them. This is a difficult, confusing, and very emotional process. Which is why we are having such a hard time deciding on an agency. It is such a tough decision with so much riding on it! But fingers crossed, we will make a decision soon and it will be a good one. I have looked up the agency we are leaning towards on the state’s DFPS website and verified their license and reviewed inspection reports. I’ve done a very thorough Google search of their name and have posted questions about them on a couple of online adoption forums (no response yet). I don’t think there is anything else that I can do. But I am still very anxious. I just hope that it will ease somewhat once we are officially signed up and on a list with someone. I’ll keep you posted…

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Never ending journey

I am honestly not sure how I get through my days. I am so totally distracted by what is (or is not) going on in my personal life (i.e., staring a family) that I absolutely cannot focus on anything else. I do not feel like doing any work, or any of my real work, but I feel guilty about the amount of time I am spending at work browsing adoption sites. Now I have to be honest – I never particularly want to do work. My job is just not that interesting. But, I’m usually fairly good at staying focused and am able to get quite a bit done in a day. I never used to be much for surfing the web at work and I've never been much of a chit-chatter. But these days (alright it’s more accurate to say these months…), I can’t go more than a few minutes without checking my personal email, pulling up a website or two, reading a blog, or simply sitting and staring at my desk and doing absolutely nothing. I don’t want to be here. I just don’t care about this place, or this job, right now. Unfortunately, we are about to spend thousands of dollars on an adoption which will also lead to us bringing home a baby (or so they tell us!), so we are not exactly in a position for me to up and quit my job. And in fact, this has been the case for years now.

That is one of the things that is hardest for me about all of this. I look at my life and where I am in my life, and it is not where I expected to be. And I’m not sure it is where I want to be. But I am so clouded by this one thing that I want and haven’t yet gotten, that I can’t make any decisions about any other part of my life. I don’t know if I am truly unhappy with other aspects of my life -- everything is so mixed up in my desire to have children that it is impossible for me to untangle the different parts of myself and my life to determine what I am happy with and what I want to change. Because the fact of the matter is – I’m not happy. Well, actually I’m depressed, which is different from being not happy, but I’m not sure that if you took the depression away that I would be happy. And that scares me. And it makes me really sad and fairly pissed off. I feel guilty complaining about my life – I know that in many ways I am very, very lucky. I have a wonderful husband and a wonderful marriage. I have friends and family who love me. I live in a safe place. I am healthy. I have a decent job. Etc. etc. etc.

But… there’s still this one thing that I don’t have. And it has taken over so much of my life. The fact of the matter is, having a baby has been guiding me and the decisions I make for longer than we have even been trying. I have always wanted to be a mom. I've always known that was important to me. I was not the kind of girl who had my wedding planned and children’s names picked out at 19 or anything, but I did know that it was what I eventually wanted out of life. And when I realized that K was “the one” I was not interested in waiting around very long to get married. And once we were married, I didn’t want to wait a terribly long time to have kids. We did wait a year before we officially started trying, but even during that time I was thinking about it. I would be working out and thinking about getting my body in shape to pregnant. When I finished graduate school and started looking for a job, I was looking for a place that would be “family friendly.” I actually chose my current job over another job because I thought this would be a better place to work when I got pregnant and had kids. I never really expected to be here 3½ years later. But then we started trying. And nothing happened. And then a lot happened but none of it was good. And my job was not going well, but I didn’t feel like I was in a position to leave. Because there was always something going on or about to happen. “I can’t leave my job, I’m about to start IVF. How can I start a new job in the middle of an IVF cycle? I can’t afford to quit my job – we are dealing with infertility.” And on and on. And of course, it hasn’t stopped. “I can’t quit my job. We’re trying to adopt a baby.”

I’m so tired of my life being ruled by all of this. I said early on that I did not want infertility to take over our lives, to define us. But, it’s nearly impossible for it not to. It seems to affect almost everything and I don’t know how to make it not. I just want to move on with my life. It feels like we started down a path and have stalled out. All around us other people are moving on and we are stuck. I know that having a baby will not make everything in my life better--I am not that naive. But, having a baby will get us moving again. And I’m starting to get very tired of the view here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another long week

It hasn’t been as long of a week as last week (which seemed to last forever before getting to Friday) but it has still been a long week. And another long week of waiting. And the hardest part is that in many ways, what we have started is just another reset of the clock. All the waiting we have done up until this point doesn’t really count. Because we are in a new game. We have to get in a new line. And we’re not even really in an official line yet. I don’t know what we’re in. It feels like we are in the line to get in line (with the small hope that somehow miraculously, something will happen and we’ll get to cut straight to the front).

I don’t know how to get myself to accept the fact that we are in a new game and that I have to readjust my expectations with regards to waiting time. I am so tired of waiting. It’s been years already.

The other adjustment is that of switching from the lack of control of infertility treatments to the lack of control of adoption. Surrendering control is something you have to do in both, but the types of surrender are different. And regardless, I don’t like surrendering control. Right now, I am waiting for an agency in Texas to get back to me. Their website sounds really nice. I got a good recommendation from someone on an online adoption forum. But I haven’t heard anything back yet. And it’s been, like a whole week (almost). I submitted on their online form (twice – because I wasn’t sure it went through the first time). I called and left a message. And I emailed. Think I might be a little anxious? Really?

But the thing is, we’re not really brand new to adoption. We got our homestudy done in May. We have been on lists with three attorneys in Arkansas since April. I’ve been sporadically browsing adoption websites for months. It’s just that now, it is for real. We want to get signed up with an agency (in addition to the networking we are doing) so that we know that we will get a baby eventually. No matter how long it takes, signing up with an agency will give us that assurance – and the sooner we can get on the list, the sooner the wait can begin.

But the decisions are so hard. Our agency here seems very nice. But their wait averages 18 months. Another agency we looked into in Texas has much shorter wait times, but more than 75% of their fees are due upfront and they are non-refundable! Other agencies we have looked at are just way too expensive. While others are for Christian families only--which we’re not. (I’m Jewish. K was raised Christian.) So, I was excited to find an agency that seems to have somewhat reasonable fees and wait times. I really want to find an agency that feels right for us but I also really want this to be the one that is right. Because I don’t want to look anymore. It’s all too overwhelming. I just want to know that we are officially in the game. With someone on our side working for us. Then I’ll at least know that the game clock has started and the waiting can begin (again).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Next steps

Saturday was a better day than Friday. I don't think I cried at all. I did spend most of the day in front of the computer working on our adoption portfolio, but I think it is therapeutic for me. We knew before we even started that this cycle was our last. At least for now -- we have both admitted that we may want to come back to IF treatments at some point -- but for now, we just want to start our family.

So we had already decided that our next step was going to be moving full speed ahead with adoption. What we had not decided was how exactly we wanted to proceed. We have already had a home study with an agency here in Colorado but have not signed on with them to be included on their list of potential families. We are going in for a meeting with them tomorrow to discuss in more detail what those next steps would be and what their adoption process is like. But I'm just not sure that this is the right agency for us. I'm not sure that we even want to use an agency here in Colorado. My biggest problem is their wait time -- 18-24 months.

I know lots of agencies list average waiting times up to 2 years, but there are also a lot that have 6-12 month waits. K's sister's first adoption (2nd child, but first that was adopted) took 2 weeks. I'm not kidding. She went to the agency that K's brother had used in Texas and after talking to an adoption specialist for awhile, they broached the topic of a situation that had just come up -- 2 month old baby girl in cradle care who they were presenting parents to the birthmother the next day. They were presented and chosen and home with their daughter two weeks later. After KL was a year old, they got back on the list and brought home their son, P, within a year.

Now, I'm sure you're asking yourself -- why don't we just use that agency??? Well, their fees are $40,000. And unfortunately, we are not blessed with the same level of funds that K's brother and sister are. However, I have found a couple of other agencies in Texas with lower fees and similar wait times. So we are going to look into those as well. In the meantime, we have decided to go ahead and try networking.

Last night we sent out an email to friends and family with our adoption profile asking them to help us network. I was so nervous to send that email. I actually made K push "send" for me! Up to now, I have been rather private about our infertility. It's not that nobody knows, because a lot of people do, but it's not something that I have readily talked about, even with friends, and I have friends I have never said anything to about it. In some ways though, I am feeling somewhat of a relief in just getting it out there. For now, we have only emailed friends and family. Eventually, I may include colleagues, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.

We have already gotten back some very nice responses. My sister forwarded our email to something like 200 people (thanks E!) and several of them wrote her back the nicest responses that she sent along to me. I've also gotten some very nice emails from some of K's friends and family. In addition, I posted a question today on an online adoption forum and have already gotten several responses back on that. So that feels good.

Now it's over

Does preparing yourself for bad news help? I'm not sure whether it does or not. Maybe. But bad news is bad news and it hurts no matter how prepared you think you are for it. I went in for the blood test by myself on Friday. I got to talk to our favorite IVF nurse and told her straight away that I didn't think it had worked. I gave them K's number to call, turned my phone to silent, and went to do a presentation for work.

They had already called by the time I got home around 11:30. It looked like K had been crying ever since they had called. I didn't cry right away. My immediate defense mechanism was to pull out all my adoption information, turn on my laptop and get started on our next move. And to send K out to buy intoxicating beverages. In large quantities. K's defense mechanism is to sleep. He's very lucky that way, and I have to admit I am jealous of the quality and probably somewhat resentful. Right now for instance, it is 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday and I have been awake since 5:30 (I don't even normally get up this early to go to work). But I can't sleep. I went to sleep OK but then woke up around 5:00 full of anxiety and could not go back to sleep.

Anyway, back to Friday. After eating and drinking a bit, K went off to bed. I sat glued in front of my computer getting increasingly overwhelmed by the adoption information I was looking at but unable to pull myself away from it all. But finally something broke and I found myself sitting in the shower sobbing with the water pouring over me. At some point I ended up curled in a ball on the bathroom floor.

K and I spent the rest of the evening talking and crying. And drinking a little. And talking some more. And looking at adoption information together. And crying. And drinking. It was good actually and I'm sure it was healthy for both of us. I know I probably have more grieving to do and the pain will continue to hit me, but it was good to get a least some of it out.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's not over til it's over

Tomorrow is the official beta test. So far, I've had four negative HPTs. K hid my last test so I didn't do one this morning. Probably for the best. This has been an incredibly hard week. It has seemed to last forever and I've felt incredibly depressed. And angry. And sad. And ready for all of this to be over but also a little scared for it to be over. And badly in need of a drink.

Hope is a funny thing. Even at my most jaded, when I'm sure that there is no way that this could possibly work for us, and intellectually I'm telling myself that I know I'm not pregnant and that I'm prepared for the negative result, there is still somewhere inside me that last little kernel of hope that I can't get rid of. And no matter how much I try not to acknowledge it, a bigger part of me than I even realize will keep clinging to that hope until the last possible moment.

I decided to test at home this time because it was so hard last time getting the phone call that it didn't work. I thought that by doing tests ahead of time, I (we) would be prepared for the call, whatever happens. But I forgot about the reset button that automatically seems to get pushed on me anytime I see a negative HPT. I am first disappointed and sad and angry but inevitably I somehow begin to convince myself that the test could be wrong. That it's just too early. And so instead of really easing me into the bad news, each new negative test is just another fresh blow. And each test I've taken this week, the negative result has come up so quickly and so completely it's as if the test is mocking me: "Yeah right. You? Pregnant? What a joke."

To me, the pain of infertility is like a million small little injuries that never quite go away and just keep adding up. We've certainly had our share of bigger blows and disappointments, but in some ways it's all the smaller little injuries that are unseen but so many that make everything so hard:

All the phone calls I've made and taken at work, in the hallway so no one can hear me. Or see me crying. All the conversations about other people's children and pregnancies that I've endured without them ever knowing the pain it causes me. All the nameless pregnant women and couples with babies that we see and envy. And the guilt of not being able to truly feel happy for someone else's blessing because it only heightens our awareness of what we're missing.

And then there is all the grief for what we have lost and what we may never have that I haven't truly let myself feel -- and I still won't. Not yet -- I'm still clinging to my last shred of hope. Small as it is, I just can't let it go.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy birthday to me

Sunday was my birthday. It was a big one for me. I turned 30. As a treat for myself, I took a home pregnancy test. So far, I’m 0 for 3.

Sunday (9 dpt) HPT #1: Negative
Monday (10 dpt) HPT #2: Negative
Tuesday (11 dpt) HPT #3: Negative

Happy fucking birthday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Just ignore me

Please ignore all advice and pointers that I have given up to this point, as I obviously have no idea what the hell I am talking about. In fact, feel free to ignore any future advice that I deign to offer as I cannot be trusted.

Case in point -- progestone shots. We obviously have no idea what we are doing. My right hip/butt has been so sore since Saturday night's shot that I can barely sit, much less walk or stand. To touch it is torture. Something definitely went wrong with that shot as I am always somewhat sore but never like this. And the trouble is, I can't see an end in sight. We have to keep giving the shots. I'm thinking that I might have K do the shot on my left side again tonight just to give my right side one more day of reprieve. But, I'm scared that will then make my left side so sore that I will really be in trouble. And the real bitch of the thing? I actually brought my heating pad to work today thinking that I could discreetly sit on it and get some relief, but it has, for some unknown reason, decided to quit working.

Continuing on in discussing my lack of expertise in anything -- estrogen patches. I thought I had discovered a sure-fire way to remove that sticky gunk, but alas, once again I was mistaken. My pumus stone scrubbing worked only the one time. Since then, the abrasiveness has been too much for me and hasn't worked particularly well anyway. The next time I tried the stone, I immediately got red and broken out and whether it's because of that or just the patches themselves, I am now red and itchy from all the patches. And sticky.

Emotionally, I am eratically vascillating between hopefulness that this might actually work to a downright surety about the fact that it won't. And, I am also obsessing on any symptoms that I may or may not have, including pain in my side and upper leg area that I distinctly remember from my last ectopic pregnancy. So now I have that anxiety thrown back into the mix. I mean, it should be impossible for me to have another ectopic being that my tubes are securely tied off, but I am not exactly feeling rational about my fears and anyway, nothing with me has ever been particularly "normal' or "as expected." I keep getting hit with waves of overwhelming fear, nauseuos-making fear. Fear of what? Just about everything. I'm scared of not being pregnant of course, but I'm also scared of being pregnant -- of being pregnant and it not working. Of being pregnant and living in fear day after day, week after week of things going wrong. And I'm also scared of a "borderline result" -- as hard as a negative result is, I think an ambiguous result would almost be worse -- part of my whole distaste for waiting. I desperately want this to work. But maybe even more than that, I just want to know one way or another. The uncertainty and the anxiety that naturally follows is driving me crazy.