Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Acceptance

Try not to read too much into my silence. I’m mostly just really busy with school stuff–turns out getting your Masters degree in English literature means you have to do an enormous amount of reading, writing, and teaching. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining. As busy as I am and as stressful as school can be, I love it. It feels so good to have forward motion in my life when I spent so long feeling stuck. The rest of our life might still be filled with unknowns, but I know what my next year is going to look like. Class. Teaching. Reading. Writing. The library. I didn’t know I could feel so much comfort from these constants, but I do.

At the moment, I am at the end of the semester and feeling a little overwhelmed with final projects/papers. So I’m taking some time out from all of that to tell you about something that happened last month.

Last month we went to Atlanta to visit some good friends. I was talking to N about the adoption process and about people’s reactions to our choice to move on to adoption. I told her the most frustrating thing is how everyone says “You know what will happen as soon as you adopt.” Everyone I talk to is convinced that I will get pregnant after we adopt–even people who know that getting pregnant is not the problem for us. And they all make it a point to tell me that. After I told her about it, N really surprised me. She looked me straight in the face and told me that she doesn’t think that will happen–that she doesn’t think we will be able to have kids. At first I was really confused because I thought I should be upset or offended, but I wasn’t.

I felt…relieved.

She was the first person to confirm that there is a good chance that I won’t be able to have kids. Seriously, the first person. I felt like the pressure was off–like there was at least one person in the world who didn’t expect the impossible from me. One person who wasn’t setting me up to be devastated all over again when adoption doesn’t magically fix me. The first person to focus on the adoption and the child we will get through adoption instead of glossing over that to the future and the hypothetical babies I will start popping out after we adopt.

Why do we do that? Why do we all feel the need to give hope–even if hope is something that can be painful and detrimental? We do it in the blog world, too. I won’t lie–one of the reasons I quit posting about our process to figuring out what is wrong with me is because I kept getting well-meaning suggestions from readers who didn’t even bother reading old posts. I got tired of readers suggesting I take baby aspirin when I have posted multiple times about my severe anaphylactic allergy to aspirin.

My doctor has found something and has suggested a game plan, and we’re going to try it. But we still plan move forward with adoption because the plan might not work. And you know what? That’s ok.

I don’t believe all of the memes and the encouraging phrases about never giving up–that true strength is always picking yourself up and trying again. I think true strength is being able to recognize when you’ve had enough and being able to move on. The truth is that some women can’t carry a child and I might be one of those women. As much as it hurts, I am acknowledging that and looking at options to move on. That’s not weakness. And what I really need right now is for someone to support that and recognize that my choices are ok and that they reflect strength and determination.

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The Truth

I have a lot of practical reasons why I’ve been so absent from this space. When I first started this blog, I was working a desk job with a lot of down time so I would write blog posts when I was waiting for the phones to ring at work. Since I started school, however, I am no longer in the position where I am stuck in front of a computer with nothing to do. Also, I spend so much of my time reading and writing now that at the end of the day, I just don’t want to write anymore. These are all good excuses for not being present in the blog world anymore. They are also just that: excuses.

The truth is that this space has been too painful for me ever since Tup died because it is much too lonely. For the longest time, this space gave me hope. I loved reading about my infertile bloggie friends’ pregnancies and watching IVF and rainbow babies grow up because I knew that one day, after I did my time, I would join those ranks. I thought about it, worried about it, even feared it, but I never truly believed that I wouldn’t be able to carry and birth children. I always saw our struggles as a season that we had to pass before emerging on the other side with a baby in our arms. But after two and a half years and five losses, I’m having to face the very real possibility that we may never have biological children. Even as we are filling out our adoption application, I’ve realized that I still believe that we will adopt a child and then I will have a successful pregnancy, but that is not realistic. Unless there is some change in medication, procedure, something, I don’t think that I will ever make it out of the first trimester–we can’t keep trying the same thing and expect different results. I’ve always heard that part of the adoption process is grieving the biological children that you will not have, but that is something that you cannot truly understand until you face it.

So as I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I may never carry and give birth to my children, I have reached a new level of intolerance for pregnant women. I feel nothing but anger and resentment when I see them, and I have no sympathy for the struggles that come with pregnancy. This means that not only am I having to deal with the anger I feel towards myself and my body for failing to protect my children, I’m also having to deal with the guilt that I feel about some of the hateful bitterness I feel towards others–some of whom I love dearly. Like our good friend who is an adoption lawyer and is helping us through this process in every way she can. She has been such a wonderful friend and support, but I can barely stand to look at her because she has a beautiful baby bump.

The worst part is how alone I feel. Especially in blogland. The place where I once I found comfort, camaraderie, and hope is now extremely painful. I’m fairly certain I can count on one hand how many of the blogs I’ve followed through this struggle that are still active and childless. Even the RPL blogs I follow are all carrying seemingly healthy pregnancies. And the number of pregnancies among my friends is almost unbearable. We started early trying to have children, so for most of our struggle, we only had a handful of friends have kids. Now I am facing pregnancy announcements on almost a weekly basis, and some of my friends are even having their second child. And where do I go to escape? Where do I go to vent and commiserate? This place doesn’t provide that for me anymore. I cheered on so many blog friends and celebrated their victories, and at some point, I was left behind.

So that’s why I don’t really write anymore. That’s why I don’t comment. Coming here is a chore. A reminder of all of my loss. I thought about starting an adoption blog, about creating a clean slate, but I’m still unsure. The truth is I would just like to feel less alone. Filling out all of this paperwork is daunting. And it’s hard. I’m having to dig up a lot of emotional baggage at a time that I’m already pretty fragile. And while I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I may never have biological children and filling out paperwork with tough questions where I have to write about things like the sexual abuse that I endured as a child, people just keep popping out babies and making cutesy announcements and I keep feeling more and more isolated.

That is the truth.

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Rambling

I want to start by thanking all of you for your kind words of support and sympathy. I appreciate all of you more than you know.

This past week, it has felt like I’m experiencing so many emotions at the same time–at such a high volume, that I can’t actually feel any of them. Its like I can mentally point out each of these feelings in myself, but I’m completely numb, like my body knows that I can’t handle this again and is mercifully shielding me. There have been so many things that I’ve wanted to write about, but I can’t seem to find the words. But I know that there is healing in writing, so I’m going to give it my best shot. Here’s what has been in my mind, in no particular order:

Guilt This was my fifth miscarriage. Fifth. And, honestly, I’m starting to wonder at myself. I mean, at this point, each loss puts us at a greater chance for another, so how much longer can this go on before I’m responsible? How many times can this happen before I can say that I am consciously killing my children by selfishly conceiving them? I know that sounds terrible, and I’m probably not being fair to myself, but it’s something I can’t get out of my head.

Adoption Before I found out I was pregnant, we made plans to meet with a good friend who is a adoption lawyer for a consultation where we will discuss our options and figure out what direction we want to go. Our appointment is tomorrow, and we are ready. We have talked for years about adoption, and we now know without any doubt that this is the right path for us. Now we just have to figure out which direction we want to take. We’ve discussed the pros and cons of different types of adoption (foster, domestic, private, international), and that is mostly what we are going to discuss tomorrow, so I will update on this later.

Reflections on 2013 Last year I wrote a post where I was ready to say fuck off to 2012. It had been a really hard year with three losses, and I was so ready to move on and had so much hope for 2013. This year also had three losses. We lost Tup in June, we lost Molly in October, and we lost this little one at the very end of the year. Hubby was also dealing with a painful Crohn’s flair-up for almost the entire first half of the year. Between all of my failed pregnancies and Hubby’s illness, we spent most of the year drowning in medical debt and are still trying to work our way free of all the bills and collection agencies. It was another rough year. Yes, the year did have some positives, including my assistantship that allowed me to go back to school (although that has made our financial situation even more dire) and our sweet little Jack Jack, but I’m ready to move on. Things have to turn around for us sometime, right?

Prevention I’m trying to find out what to do about the months to come. My last tests showed a potential cause for these losses with a new treatment (a post for another time), but we are not on that path right now. We are ready to move on to adoption. I feel like we need to prevent for awhile, but I hate birth control and hubby hates con.doms, so what’s a couple to do? I know the copper iud provides birth control without the hormones, but it’s pretty expensive (see medical bills above) and it lasts ten years. Yes, it’s reversible, but that’s a lot of money to pay for long-term birth control only to have it taken out early. Any other ideas? I feel fairly confident that we could handle the family planning method, but after two and a half years of tracking my cycles while trying to get pregnant, I’m pretty much over it.

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Sour Lemonade

I’m not sure if my last two posts have given a true sense of how I’ve been doing. It’s been rough. First, I’m pretty sure I can’t look at Facebook anymore. Seriously, the number of pregnancy announcements, gender announcements, and birth announcements seems to have increased. Maybe it’s because it was Thanksgiving, “We’re so thankful to announce that we will have a new member of the family.” Maybe it’s because I’m getting older so all of my friends are getting to the age that they reproduce. But it’s hard. Then last night, all of the girls in our church group had a girls night and one of them told us she’s 16 weeks. I’ve been waiting for this, for someone in our group to get pregnant. Someone that I see all the time and someone that I love dearly so I will be full of guilt when it makes me cry because I’m so sad. She even told us that they had been trying for two years and had just given up, so I feel even worse because I’m jealous of someone who is one of us.

The truth is that I’m sad and jealous because she’s 16 weeks. I’ve never made it that long. Tup was my longest pregnancy and that lasted 8 weeks. I know from being in this community that there is never a guarantee, but I feel like if I could just make it that long, we could have a baby. It’s been over two years and we’ve had four losses (that we know of), and I’m feeling broken, like my spirit is just beat down. I used to dream of being pregnant and giving birth and having our beautiful child, but now the thought of pregnancy terrifies me. Pregnancy only leads to heartbreak. We’re NTNP right now and whenever I think I feel some sort of pregnancy symptom or can’t remember how long it’s been since my last period, I get nervous. Not, “oh my gosh, I could be pregnant and we might actually have a baby” nervous, more like “Oh no, if I’m pregnant, that means I’m going to have another mc in the next month and I just can’t handle that right now” nervous. I guess you can call it a loss of hope, but I’m basically at the point where I honestly don’t think I will ever be able to carry a child. And that hurts. A lot.

I told you all that we’re talking about adoption and hope to start the process if hubby gets this job. We actually are going to have a consultation with my pregnant friend because she works for a law firm that does adoption and she’s going to go through our different options with us. If hubby doesn’t get this job, however, we’ll have to wait until I’m done with school. That’s another year and a half. For those keeping count, that’s a full four years after we started trying to have a baby before we even start the process. Hubby said that two of his friends got phone calls to come in for a interview last Wednesday, and he hasn’t heard anything. That doesn’t mean things are over and he’s not getting the job, but it doesn’t look too good either–especially since we’ve had the optimists beaten out of us the past two years. Last night we sat together and cried. Hubby said he feels like he let me down because he wasn’t good enough to get this job. I told him that I feel like I let him down because my body apparently doesn’t grow babies. It was rough. Yes, all of this is bringing us closer, but I wouldn’t recommend marriage-strengthening-through-loss.

So that’s where I really am. I’m sad and broken and a little resentful. Things may look good from the outside because we are trying our very best to make lemonade. But to be honest, the lemonade still tastes awfully sour.

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Waiting

If you can’t tell from my lack of posts, I’ve been struggling with this space lately. I’ve felt a definite shift on my reader, and I’m not sure where I fit in. Most of the women I follow are now pregnant or officially moving on to some form of adoption. The ones who don’t fit into either of those categories are like me: posting sporadically and sometimes half-heartedly.

This isn’t a post against pregnant infertile bloggers. I love you all. When I read happy posts about your pregnancies–heartbeats, movement, viability, acceptance–I literally do a little happy dance. I look forward to those posts, and I pray for you all and your little ones.  I talk about you in everyday life (“My friend Belle felt her baby move the other day, I’m so excited for her” “My friend Theresa is having twins and trying to avoid buying a minivan. I totally feel her–I hate minivans” “My friend Steph just found out she’s pregnant after five miscarriages. I really hope this is her take home baby”). I’m sure people wonder how I know so many pregnant women, but that is how I think of you in my mind and my heart–as my friends that I think about and hope for and celebrate with.

I also really enjoy reading the blogs of women who are going through the foster adoption process because I am learning so much. If we end up going down that path, I have a good idea of what to expect–not just the paperwork and classes but also the emotions. I truly appreciate you all for documenting the process for the rest of us who may be there one day.

I’ve spoken before about feeling stuck, and that feeling just won’t go away. I am grateful for the healing I have had in the months since my last mc, but I feel like something has to give. Hopefully, we will start actually TTC again this month because hubby is feeling significantly better (thank goodness!!!!!), and that will give me some forward motion. The thing is, I feel like our whole life is stuck on pause. I’m working at a  job I hate until I hear back from the Masters program I applied to because it seems silly to go job hunting if I’m going to be quitting to go to school in the fall anyway. But, to be completely honest, I really don’t know if I’m going to get in or not–the program only accepts sixteen students a year with an assistantship, so it is a fairly competitive program. Hubby has applied to be a professional fire fighter in our community after he finishes fire academy, but it will probably be months before we know anything. If he does get the job, he will be making quite a bit more money–which means even if I don’t get into school, I can still possibly quit my job and work somewhere part-time. Combine all of this uncertainty with the question of whether or not we will be able to have children, and I am left feeling stuck. Even our back-up plan of foster adoption is up in the air right now (if I don’t get into school, we will go ahead with the plan, but it will be on hold if I get into school).

I’m surprisingly more comfortable with all of this than I would have ever imagined myself capable of being, and maybe the hope that is filling my heart is a testament to the growth that I have experienced during the last year and a half of TTC. Being unsure of life and where it is heading, however, leaves me at a complete loss when it comes to this place. Everyone in this community seems to be either moving forward (pregnancies, adoptions, further treatments) or fading out, and I am feeling more and more like I am in the second group because I am sitting still. Waiting. As my good friend Rose says, I am a seed. I am waiting in the dark surrounded by pressure, but I have the assurance that at some point, my life will bloom–although I have no idea when that will be or what it will look like.

I guess for now I will just keep reading and when I feel the need, I will post. I promise to update you ladies of any motion in our lives…

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The Wonderful and the Stupid

I’m going to start by saying that nothing seems to elevate my mood and calm me down like jazz music, and I am so happy that it is finally late enough in the year for me to play jazzy Christmas music at my desk at work :o)

In my last two posts, I told you about our current TTC plan and our adoption back up plan, and today I want to tell you about some of the reactions we have received from the few people we have told about our plan to adopt if we don’t get a viable pregnancy before April. I feel like this community is really good at complaining about the stupid things people say, so I really want to start on a positive note and tell you about the absolutely wonderful reaction we have received.

Hubby and I are friends with a wonderful couple that we absolutely love spending time with. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll call her Buttercup because we like to watch The Princess Bride together. Buttercup and her hubby have been married for about a year and a half and have been NTNP for most of their marriage, but she has problems with her thyroid and her hormone levels so there is a good chance that they will encounter problems whenever they do start TTC. Despite the fact that they are not in the same place as us, Buttercup is the most understanding person that I have spoken to about our journey, and she is my biggest source of strength and encouragement outside of this online community and hubby. She is actually the first person who told me that adoption through the foster care system is free, and when I told her our plan, she cried out of joy that we will become parents one way or another. Then she told me that they want to take the mandatory PATH (Parents As Tender Healers) class with us so they can become foster parents in the near future. Their friendship has honestly been a bigger blessing than I could ever ask for, and I find it very comforting to know that, if we do move on to adoption, they will be there with us :o)

The most common reaction we have received is the “once you adopt you are going to get pregnant” reaction, and while it gets old, it doesn’t really bother me that much. I usually just smile and say that means we will have two babies and my heart might just explode because I’ll be so happy. One thing that does bother me is when they take it one step further and say the reason we’ll get pregnant after adoption is because we’ll “just relax and stop trying.” I really don’t need to explain to this community why I find this so infuriating, but it especially upsets me because it isn’t even relevant to us. Our problem is not that we are too stressed to conceive or that we are trying too hard to conceive. Our problem is that our baby dies only a few weeks after conception. But, who knows, maybe if we adopt and relax, that will stop happening. Ugh. People are stupid.

Anyone else out there talking about the possibility of adoption? How have people reacted to that?

I still have to tell you all about hubby and sexy time, so keep an eye on your newsfeed ;o)

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Game Plan

First, I want to sincerely thank you all for the encouraging comments you left on yesterday’s post. I’ve been feeling a little down and discouraged, and your comments lifted me right up. I love this community so much.

As I mentioned in my last post, we are going to resume TTC on my next cycle, hoping beyond hope that we can conceive and I can have a viable pregnancy without going to see a specialist. I’m currently on CD20 of my third cycle after my last mc.  Usually, this means that I will be ovulating soon and should be expecting my period in about two weeks, but I had a LOT of EWCM on Monday, so who knows? I honestly haven’t been paying close attention to my cycles lately, and I only noticed my cervical mucus on Monday because there was just so much of it. I guess we won’t really know until my period starts because I’m not temping. For now, I am going to start working on getting my body ready again by taking my prenatals (I quit after my last mc), eating healthy, and maybe even exercising. I figure I have about 4-5 weeks before I ovulate and it’s baby-making time, so I might as well start now.

Some of you may be wondering what we are going to do if this plan doesn’t work. Hubby and I have talked quite a bit about that, and we have made the decision to start the adoption process if we can’t get pregnant again or the next pregnancy isn’t viable. Hubby finishes fire academy in April, so that is the “cut off date” that will determine whether or not we are moving on to adoption. One of my coworkers just completed an adoption this year, and he said he would love to have us over for dinner to talk to us about the process. They adopted through the foster care system, which does not cost anything (actually, after the tax rebate, they will make about $12,000 from it), and we would be doing the same thing. I know it’s a little unorthodox to skip the specialist and go straight to adoption, but we are ready to be parents. Honestly, we are interested in adoption whether we can have biological kids or not, and this way, we can go can go ahead and become parents while we are figuring out the IF stuff. I was a little surprised at how easy the decision was for us, and we are both 100% percent on board. Yes, we both want biological children, but the real desire of our hearts right now is to have a child to love and raise. This decision also means that we will be parents in the next year or so, no matter what my body decides to do, and we are super pumped about that. Super. Pumped. I know it will probably be a long, drawn-out, and difficult process, but hey, why should it be any different than the rest of our baby journey?

Alright, I’m going to continue leaving little previews of future posts for you because it motivates me to keep writing and it helps me break down the very large amount of stuff I want to tell all of you. Plus, I like to think it leaves you hungry for more. So be on the lookout for posts about hubby, sexy time, and the reactions I have received when telling others about our adoption plan.

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What now?

Hubby and I had a talk yesterday, and I told him that I needed to know how he felt about all of this. He said that he knows this journey has been very stressful and painful for me and that makes him want to stop TTC, but he still really wants a baby. So we are in the same place. We both really want a baby, but we can’t handle the stress and pain of TTC right now, and we are going to take some time off for awhile.

I’ve not really told you much about hubby. Hubby and I have been together for over seven years, and he is my very best friend. He is so kind and considerate, and he is the funniest person I know. Hubby grew up in a very close, loving family, and he has always wanted babies. Some of you may remember how I have written that having children was never my life’s dream and wanting to have a baby kind of hit me out of nowhere, but I feel like you should know that it has always been hubby’s dream. He wants this just as much, if not more, than I do.

Yesterday hubby said something that brought back the hope. He starts fire academy on Tuesday and will be done at the end of March. After he is done, he will be a state certified fire fighter, and he hopes to get a full time job with a fire department. This means he will be making more than we make combined right now and he will be working 24 hour shifts with a 48 hour break in between them. The original plan was that I would be able to quit my job and stay home after I had the baby, and he would be home enough that we could raise our baby together. But we no longer have that baby. Back to the hope: last night hubby said that if we don’t have a viable pregnancy before he starts a full time fire job, we can start the adoption process. We aren’t going to give up on having our own biological child, but we are going to start taking the steps needed have a baby–even if it isn’t genetically linked to us.

This might seem like a huge step that came out of nowhere, but I’ve actually said from the beginning of TTC that I like the idea of adoption, and even if we can have our own biological children, I would consider adoption. We are going for a mc follow-up appointment with my midwife this afternoon, and I have a sickening feeling that we are about to enter into a world of expensive tests and procedures that aren’t covered by insurance and won’t guarantee us a child. As much as I long to carry our child for nine months and give birth to a tiny human who is part hubby and part me, I would rather put all of that money towards saving a child’s life and know for certain that the time and emotional energy that I am investing will lead to me being a mother. We are considering international adoption which can take up to three years, so if this is the route we have to take, we want to start the process as soon as possible.

I know that adoption is a big deal. It is expensive and emotional and long and not an easy undertaking. We’ll cross that bridge when/if we get there. Nothing is set in stone right now, but I feel a lot better knowing that hubby and I are on the same page, and we have a plan. We will be parents. And if we get halfway through the adoption process and I actually get pregnant with a sticky baby? Then my heart might just explode because I will be so happy that we will get two children.

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