Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bucket List

When Jamie and I first got married, I joined a site for newlyweds and quickly realized the women on there were not really type. So I stopped visiting it and now I don't even remember my login name and password. I do, however, still get their online newsletter on a regular basis. Included in each newsletter is a list of recent forum topics. Yesterday I was checking through the newsletters I hadn't read yet and came upon a forum topic titled, "What's on Your Baby Bucket List?". If you're unfamiliar with the term, a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die and a baby bucket list is a list of things you want to do before having kids. I was intrigued, so I clicked the link to read what other women had on their list. I wanted to know how other women are using the time they have as a twosome.

You would not believe how ambitious these ladies are!

"Travel to all 7 continents"
"Spend a year living abroad"
"Volunteer with the Peace Corps"
"Have our house, school loans and cars completely paid off"

I could see this was not going to be very helpful. Jamie and I will not - I guarantee you - visit all 7 continents before having kids and very likely won't accomplish anything so ambitious in our lifetime! And live abroad? I miss my mommy living a few hundred miles from her! And unless a wealthy uncle we don't know about leaves us a large sum of money, our school loans and house will not be paid off for quite a while. If we waited for that, we'd be having kids at 45.

So I started thinking about what realistic goals I could put on my own "Before Babies" list and came up with one. Just one.

To have my house clean, really clean, and organized just once before I have little humans to clean up after.


P.S. Shannon redid her blog and it's so cute! She's combining all her information from her adoption blog and her everyday blog into one. Be sure to check it out

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Diggin' the Whole Birthday Thing

When I first wrote about infertility, I said it effects everything and that's so true. Nearly every aspect of life is touched by the pain that is infertility.

For example, turning 27.

I've never made a huge deal about birthdays but I've also never understood why some people dread and hate them. What's the big deal in turning another year older? But this year has been a little harder than most. Because never in a million years would I have imagined getting to 27 without being a mom.

When I was a little kid, I thought I would get married when I was 19, 20 tops. I'd have my first baby when I was 21 or 22 and by 27 I'd probably have a whole passel of little monsters and be spending my days at Mommy N Me music class.

Life sorta worked out differently.

And I was fine with getting married older than I thought I would because I realized that at 19, I was not ready (and plus I hadn't met my wonderful hubby yet). And now 8 years later I can look back at 19-year-old me and think THANK GOODNESS I didn't get married that young!

But I've had a harder time dealing with motherhood being slow in coming.

To be honest, this has not been a terrible day. I got to go out to lunch with a coworker, have a nice long conversation with my favorite little sister and my mom, and my husband came home from work and told me I shouldn't have to clean on my birthday and took over my chore list for me. I haven't been sad and bummy all day or anything.

But I have shed tears today. I cried last night just thinking about the reality of being so far from where I thought I'd be. I cried for the loss of my dreams for my life. My life is forever changed by this. I may still be a stay-at-home mom of a whole passel of little monsters like I planned, but it's going to look different than I expected. Maybe we'll adopt, or maybe we'll be able to have kids eventually. I have a feeling it will be mixture of both. And that's not a bad thing and I'm sure I will love parenthood when and how it comes. But still I had plans and dreams and they have had to change.

I don't want to mislead you and make you think I'm miserable, because I'm not. I'm just saying my next birthday will be a lot happier if there's a little one here by the time 28 rolls around.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Are You Telling People?

Recently a friend called me with a question. Another mutual friend had heard about my surgery and asked her what was going on with us. My friend wanted to know what to say. "Are you telling people?"

I told her yes, we are. I've been pretty open to anyone who asks what's going on with us. And to anyone who asks if we're having kids soon, I usually say, "We want to, but we haven't been able to so far." If they ask for more detail, I give it to them.

I struggle with this sometimes. Some days I just do NOT want to talk about it. My best friend in the whole world asked me how it was going today and I told her I didn't want to talk about it. Not today. Not even with her. I just wasn't in the mood.

Other times I hate sharing our story because of how people respond. Sympathy is ok, encouragement is appreciated, but I hate being pitied. I have a fear that people will feel sorry for us if we decide to adopt. Like too bad we couldn't have a "real" kid. I don't want to be pitied and I definitely don't want to be treated differently - not invited to baby showers or told of friend's pregnancies until absolutely necessary. And sometimes I get some totally unwanted advice ("Stop trying and relax and it'll happen!")

For those reasons sometimes I'm tempted to keep my mouth shut. But I don't. Here's why:

#1 It is our story, like it or not. This is a part of who we are as a couple and it will affect us for better or worse. No matter what happens. I don't know the reasons yet that we have had to walk this road, but we have. And I see no reason to keep that a secret.

#2 People say dumb things. That's a fact of life, and I've been just as guilty of it as anyone. And people saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can really hurt. If someone who doesn't know about our infertility issues asks when we're gonna start trying, or worse warns us that we should start soon because we're not getting any younger! (yep, it's happened despite the fact that we're 26) I can't be upset. They can't know what they haven't been told. It is painful to have someone try to convince you to have a baby when you absolutely would if you could! Some women don't talk about their infertility because it's too painful. I share for self preservation. If people know, they'll be more sensitive.

#3 I covet others prayers on our behalf. There isn't a whole lot anyone can do to help us in this situation (unless one of you have an unclaimed baby laying around. Anyone?) But most of our friends and family can and do pray for us. I don't know that prayers will lead to us conceiving, but it certainly doesn't hurt! And it's so good to know people are lifting you up.

#4 I never know who my story might help. One of the things that has helped me stay sane during this time is the other women I know who have been here. Some of them don't even know how they have helped me. I look at women who went through years of infertility and now have a family and I realize I'll be there some day. I look at other women who are at the same place as me, still trying to start their family and I know I'm not alone. I spend my days at an adoption agency and I know many of our clients are adopting after years of trying to have a biological child. And I realize the joy they feel when they get their referral, or bring home their newborn will be our joy some day. People don't know how they've encouraged me just by allowing me a glimpse of their lives. And I hope that in sharing what we're going through I can encourage someone else.

Some women choose not to talk about their infertility and I totally get that. It can be hard to talk about. People don't always respond the way you'd hoped. But for me, I feel like I need to. Some days I wish this were not our story but it is. And I'm going to share it, so bring on the unwanted advice!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Post Surgery Update

I had my surgery as scheduled on November 1st which is kind of a miracle in itself because after rescheduling twice I was starting to think maybe it wouldn't happen.

People keep asking how it went and I'm a little unsure how to answer that. The purpose of the surgery was to help us get pregnant. And, well, I'm not yet. So I guess I'll have to let you know exactly how it went some time in the future. (side story, the anesthetist was looking through my chart right before taking me back to the OR and he wondered aloud, "Did they do a pregnancy test? Oh yeah, here it is." Then he turned to me and said, "I just have to check because it would change what medications I can give you." Yeah, Mr. Doctor it would kinda change a whole lot more than that!)

But as far as how it went for me physically, it kinda hurt. Which should be no surprise to anyone who understands the meaning of the word "surgery". But I was totally thinking it would be no big thing. I mean it was only 3 little tiny incisions and no organs were being removed or anything. My surgery was Monday afternoon and Joel was flying in on Wednesday evening for a friend's wedding. I completely thought I'd be able to pick him up at the airport. I told my boss I'd probably be back to work on Thursday or Friday. In reality, I was out of work all week and pretty darn proud of myself for showering and putting on clean sweat pants Wednesday evening so I could go with Jamie to the airport. So yeah it was a little more painful than anticipated.

But I'm good now. I'm about 95% healed and that's only because I still have 3 teeny tiny spots on my tummy that haven't totally healed. In a few days they'll be gone and I'll be all good.

As far as how it went from a diagnostic view, my doctor tells me I have stage 4 severe endometriosis. Which is one of the weirdest most unexplainable diseases ever. I get the basic premise - endometrial tissue grows in the wrong place in the body - but I totally don't get the other issues it causes and why. For me it me means painful cramps but really not much else (other women experience all kinds of other symptoms). My doctor was able to remove a little more than half of the scar tissue that she found, which improves our chances very slightly. She's certainly not promising us we'll conceive now. For us, it means we have less than a 5% chance of getting pregnant each month (compared to a healthy couple's 20%).

We're still playing with what to do with this new information. For now we're doing nothing drastic - no more infertility treatments and we're not applying to adopt yet. Although we're really eager to have a family, we don't feel like we need to rush. My doctor says we have 4-6 years before our chances of conceiving through IVF start to decline, so we can do that at any point. But we're not sure we want to. And of course my job at the adoption agency makes adoption a very obvious option. We'll wait and see for a while if the surgery yields any immediate results and then decide what's next if we don't get pregnant.

We'll see. And I'll be sure to share with you what we decide when we decide it. Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers, cards, emails, etc. that you sent my way last week!