Thursday, January 17, 2008

Routine, what routine?

Someone decided to wake up at 3:00 this morning and not go back to sleep until right now (6:20). In fact, someone was really pretty much awake at 2:30 but I pretended not to notice until closer to 3:00. Someone acted like he was hungry around 3:oo and again at 5:00 but then only ate half his bottle. Someone appears to actually not really be asleep right now after all... I know what you're thinking - why would K want to be up so early?

We have gotten into somewhat of a pattern and Jonah has been sleeping at night for the most part. Not through the night, mind you. He still is up every 2 1/2 - 3 hours for a bottle, day and night. Considering that he is now up to 9 lbs you would think his ferocious appetite would have calmed down somewhat, but no, he is still on a 3 hour only stretch. I expect that at some point he will start being able to go longer. During the day, I can sometimes keep him happy for up to 3 1/2 or almost 4 hours but at night, I'm too tired to continue putting the pacifier back in or getting up to hold him, so I end up folding and just giving him a bottle.
The routine (ha ha) that had sort of been working is that I stay up with him until around 11:30 or 12:30, give him a bottle and then we both go to bed. He is sleeping in a co-sleeper right next to me. He generally wakes up again around 2:30 or 3:00 and I pull him into bed with me and give him a bottle. Then he wakes up again around 5:00 or 6:00 and K gets up with him. In theory, K is getting up with him and then going to work (he works out of our house) but I think a good part of the time he is actually laying down and sleeping with Jonah in the guest room. Anyway, it is a fairly decent arrangement except that I don't get quite enough sleep and since I have still yet to nap during the day (I know it's crazy but that's just the way it is), after a couple days in a row of this I get too tired and just go to bed early. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to work very well for any of us. Last night I went to bed at 9:30 and took Jonah in with me. K came in around 11:30 and got him and didn't give him another bottle until around 1:00. He then came to bed and put Jonah back next to me. Jonah proceeded to be very noisy for the next 2 1/2 hours. I think we all slept a little but not great and by 2:45 or so I gave up and got up with him. Gave him the bottle that I thought he was asking for (he only ate half of it), changed his diaper, and then decided to give the guest room a go. We laid down together but sleep was not what he was interested in. I got up with him again, re-swaddled him and seemed to get him to settle. We went back to my bedroom and he slept for maybe 10 minutes? Then cried. K pulled him into bed with us, which usually works, but it was not to be. So, I got up. Changed another diaper. Gave another half bottle. And Mr. Jonah has still not gone to sleep. He is currently propped up in the boppy next to me sticking out his tongue (very very cute). I am on my third cup of coffee... I actually feel great but we'll see how I feel at 3:00 this afternoon. By the way, just to be clear, I'm not complaining. He is great. Better than great in fact. Did I mention that he's 9 lbs?? We no longer have a tiny little baby!

So there's an update on motherhood. Everything is going really great. We've been getting out a little bit more. It's very cold here at the moment and our streets and sidewalks still have some snow left from Christmas so walking outside is not as pleasant as it might be. We did, however, buy a very snazzy stroller so I'm anxious for it to warm up a little so we can really take it for a test drive. I'm starting to dread the thought of going back to work. My boss has yet to officially respond to my request to go part-time but from what I've heard through the grapevine I'm just assuming that it's a go. I do need to know from him which days he wants me in the office so that I can find some kind of childcare. I really don't want to think about that, much less do anything about it, but time is ticking by so I guess I better start doing that soon. Ok, I need another cup of coffee so I will go for now!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Adopting after infertility

I've actually been thinking about posting for awhile but 1) hadn't gotten around to it and 2) wasn't sure what to write about. This seems to be a universal dilemma with infertility blogs -- what to do once you finally have a baby. Is this still an "infertility" blog? Am I now a mom-blogger? Will I quit blogging altogether?

I'm not exactly sure what I want to do, and right now I honestly don't care. I think I'll just do whatever feels right. The fact of the matter is, I am still infertile. Adoption did not "cure" my infertility -- but it has allowed me to be a mother, to have a child, which for me/us was the most important thing.

As part of our preparation for adopting, our agency required quarterly readings where we would need to read a book and write up a short paragraph about it (obviously we didn't make it a full quarter but nonetheless...). I am an avid reader so had taken their list of book suggestions and checked out a bunch of them before we were even officially signed on. One of the books on their list is Adopting After Infertility by Patricia Irwin Johnston. I did not get through this entire book but I skimmed through a lot of it and thought it was a pretty good book to read for those considering adoption after infertility. Many of the issues that she discusses early in the book in terms of steps towards making the decision to adopt we had already discussed and resolved, but it was validating to read through them and to realize that we had in fact considered these things.

I do not have the book in front of me so unfortunately will not get this exactly right but one of the things that she addresses is the different aspects of grief/loss that infertile couples face in not being able to conceive a child together. I think she discusses 6 in total -- I can't remember them all for sure but in sum they are the losses of passing down your own genes, the experience of being pregnant, experiencing a shared pregnancy, creating a child together, and being parents. She asks that you think about which of these are most important to you. It is an interesting exercise because it can help you to think about your feelings about other treatment options (e.g., surrogacy, egg donor) as well as adoption. For us, the experience of being parents was the most important thing -- I'd bet that this is the case for most couples going through infertility; however, I think that the importance that different people place on the other factors varies dramatically and is ultimately at least one of the main driving factors in the decisions that people make. (The other important factor for many of us is the financial considerations -- this was certainly true for us and is something I want to explore more in another post.) Going through the list of losses and thinking about how I felt about each one was actually very helpful and thought-provoking even though we had already made the decision to move to adoption. In fact, as I write about it, I think it is something worth coming back to even now that we have a child.

K and I were both dealing with some strong emotions around these issues last weekend. We were actually on our way to do some baby shopping (one of our first big outings with Jonah). K shared with me that he had really been struggling with the feeling of wanting to try infertility treatment again and feeling this need to pass on his genes or something. It was a tough conversation in a lot of ways and it's difficult for me to write about, so for now, I am going to skip going through the details and just say that I believe (and K has confirmed this) that he really just needed to express these feelings out loud to me, to acknowledge them (to recognize that he felt guilty for having them) and to talk through some of the emotions surrounding them. This whole conversation took place in the car. We had finished the conversation by the time we got to Baby's R Us. K felt relieved to have gotten things off his chest and I was feeling good that I was not dealing with those emotions.

We returned some gifts and started looking around. K was pushing Jonah in the stroller while I was browsing baby clothes. In the same area as the boy's baby clothes were maternity clothes and breast feeding accessories. All around me were pregnant women. And I was all of a sudden struck by an overwhelming sense of insecurity mingled with sadness/loss. And it seemed so ridiculous -- here I was with my baby and yet I was still feeling this sense of loss. I had not gotten to shop and prepare before having my baby. I did not get to be pregnant with him. But even more than that, I was feeling so insecure. I felt as though everyone would look at me and not see me as a legitimate mom. That somehow it was obvious to everyone that I was not a "real" mom, that I did not know what I was doing and that I did not deserve to be a mother. It's weird, at home I do not feel insecure at all about my ability to care for Jonah and be a mother. But almost every time I have been out in public with him, I start feeling insecure and like an impostor. I think it's still part of that overall sense that this can't be real.

But it is real. And I do deserve it. And I am a "real" mother. Sometimes I guess I just need to remind myself of that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Merry New Year!

We were talking to my SIL, J, last night and she said that while 2007 had been a big and good year for them, they were glad that it was over. They adopted their third child in July and a month or so ago B had a vasectomy. J said that she was glad to be moving into a new year where from now on they would not have to be thinking or worrying about getting a phone call about an adoptive situation and they would never have to worry about an unexpected pregnancy (not that it was likely to happen anyway). They could finally just move on with their lives, with their family complete and the difficult family-building process over.

Her comments really resonated with me and made me realize that 2008 will be the first year in 3 years that I won't be doing any kind of fertility treatment. 2005, 2006, and 2007 are defined in my mind in many ways by the various treatments and failures that we experienced. Memories of other events are remembered in relation to where we were in various treatment or failures -- "Oh, right. I remember that, it was right after I lost my second pregnancy..." I am really glad to know that 2008 holds no possibilities of more IF treatment! While K and I definitely want more children (we've already been talking about it which is kind of sad), and K in particular wants to try IF one more time (with our 4 remaining frozen embryos), it most certainly won't be this next year. And that feels really good.