Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Curve ball

Last night the social worker sent us the medical and social histories of both birth parents. 

As D grilled our meat outdoors, and I prepared the rest of dinner, I scanned through the documents. After looking at the egg donor profiles, I've become a lot faster at scanning through to quickly see if there is anything glaring. After dinner, I planned to have more thorough look. 

I expected no big surprises. We had spent 30 minutes on the phone where the social worker reviewed the information with us, basically reading from this document, line for line. 

Except there was something. 

She has smoked marijuana throughout her pregnancy. It said "Every day in the first trimester, and now once on weekends".

WTF. 

UM. So, it was important that they told us that he loves performance cars, and that she takes Zumba classes, but NOT about THIS? 

My heart dropped. 

I'd never researched the effects of marijuana on a baby. I've had no reason to. 

I thought maybe it was a typo. I calmly emailed the social worker (SW), asking her to seek clarification from the birth parent counsellor.  After all, the agency worker made a big deal about how great of a situation this was, and the fact that there were no drugs, other than prescriptions for a UTI and morning sickness pills. 

The agency worker and birth parent counsellor were conveniently on vacation today, so we talked to someone else. She said they would try to reach one of them on vacation. We thanked her. 

In the mean time, we had a meeting scheduled with our local SW for the afternoon to sign paperwork for this adoption, one document of which, said that we were comfortable with, and had reviewed their medical and social histories. 

I emailed our local SW and told her about what was happening. Her response was that "maybe it wasn't identified as a risk factor"- Ummm, sorry, WHAT!?!? She also said that is "her 15 years experience marijuana that it isn't associated with major problems".  She said she's seek clarification from the other SW. 

It wasn't the "let's get to the bottom of this" ..."I'm sorry that happened" ..."that should have been presented to you earlier if that was the case" social-worky answer I was hoping for.  

We had friends stop in that evening, so we kept things to ourselves and calmly waited things out until morning. 

Then, I woke up this morning and had a full blown, anxious, teary freak-out. I'm getting really good at those. I have lots of practice under my belt, I guess. I should add that skill to my resume. It really is impressive. 

My thoughts were: 

1. This wasn't a typo. It wouldn't have been written up as it was. 

2. What is this agency doing? Why was this missed? Was this intentional?  Are they incompetent? What else is missing!?!

3. Who is this pregnant woman who CHOOSES to smoke cigarettes and marijuana when she KNOWS she is 7 months pregnant!?! Why!!! I think about the baby in her womb being exposed and I cringe.  She's taken prenatal vitamins since week 3 of her of pregnancy. I remember that she wrote that she wants to take a health program at college next year, haha! I feel furious at her. I hate that she is doing this to that baby.   

4.  Even though he hasn't said it overtly, I know D wants this baby regardless of this new information. I feel pressured, and that he could be making a decision out of desparation. 

5. I don't know how I feel about this new information, and if it is a deal breaker to me. 

6. I have not fully researched this or called the Motherrisk hotline about the effect of marijuana on a baby.  All I've read are a bunch of mostly non-researched based internet garbage articles saying that it may not be that bad. 

7. I think about how my aunt told me that my mother smoked pot before she knew she was unexpectedly pregnant with me (and she took birth control, and who knows, she probably drank too?). I maybe could have been a rocket scientist without that exposure, but I really don't feel much worse for the wear. 

I sobbed in the shower, and then after I got out. This isn't going to be easy either.  Why!?!

8. I think about that beautiful little baby girl or boy. I feel a sense if protection for him or her. I think about who they are. Are they less loveable because of this? Would my parenting experience be harder/less rewarding if a learning disability or some other possible marijuana effect were present? Absolutely not.  

9. Is perfectionism and worry about being judged playing into this? 

I think about some of my friend's pregnancies. I recall a friend who kept a chart on her fridge to keep track of if she had her exactly proper number of veggies that day. 

10. I think about all of the things I've done to increase my hideous fertility, even by just a smidgeon. I think of the care and love I always imagined doling out to my future unborn babies. I think about care the love I did give the babies I lost. 

11. I think about my four embabies on ice. 

12. I feel my own compound losses coming to the surface again.  I see my anxiety, and D's growing by the minute. 

Shortly after the shower, I told D that we need to talk. I blurted out all of the things I just wrote about, only not as coherently.  I said, "we need to cancel our SW meeting. We need more information.  I can't decide on this today, we have time. Let's postpone this meeting." He agreed. 

Except, we couldn't get a hold of our SW, because she was in an out of town meeting. 

She finally called us, 15 minutes before our scheduled appointment. 

We briefly discussed things, and she suggested that we should meet anyways, just to talk this out, and to get some other paperwork cleared up. We agreed. 

15 minutes later, she arrived at our door with a birth parent counsellor. (We had met her a few months ago.  She was not the counsellor that interviewed our prospective birth parents.)

The meeting was mostly good. We  especially valued the non-judgemental, and informed insight  and support of the birth parent counsellor.  Our local SW wasn't as great of a support or as professional as we would have hoped for. 

We reviewed the social and medical history line by line. She talked about her experience with adoption and recreational drug use in pregnancy. We talked about the strengths of the couple. 

"This is just about as clean of a history as we see", they both said. We were both surprised to hear this.  They failed to mention that in our homestudy and adoption preparation! 

"There is no alcohol consumption. There are no hard drugs. There was prenatal care.  The pregnancy is not hidden and the birth parents seem confident in their decision to place the child."

They offered us no judgement, if we decided this match was not right for us. 

I told them that I was upset that this was not brought to our attention earlier. That it made me lose confidence in this process, and the agency.  They acknowledged our concerns, and talked our their confidence in this agency, and with the experienced and thorough birth parent counsellor who did the intake with the birth parents. 

They talked about how this birth mom seemed honest about disclosing her history, and that may other mothers may not have been as forthcoming due to many factors. 

Part of the way through the meeting, the agency worker called. We put her on speaker phone. She explained that it was an error that she has not mentioned this earlier. That she had been working from an older document, and this information had not been disclosed at that time. She apologized sincerely. She said it was okay to change our minds. She apologized some more. She really felt bad for the error, and she owned the problem. 

It is all a lot for us to take in, especially because we are so new to the adoption world, and truthfully, because I haven't fully given up my dreams of my happy little embabies turning into happy pregnancies and real, live babies. 

We ended our meeting with them, telling them that we would talk it over, do more research, and get back to them. 

We're taking the night to think about it, but I think we've mostly decided. 

This is still our baby. 



Friday, 15 August 2014

This is still happening!

Thank you so much for all of your heartfelt comments. They really were fun to read! It all still doesn't seem real...

I told someone that this feels like winning the lottery.  I keep thinking things like; "Someone picked us for their baby!", "There is a baby kicking and growing right now that is going to come home with us ...and SOON!", "I wonder what the Birth Mom and Dad are thinking about right now?" The thought of it all truly astounds me. 

I thought a match for us would be so far away.  I can't believe it that this all happened so fast.  We only finalized our profile with the agency in early June. After 7 years of waiting for baby, I guess I got used to things happening at a snail's pace. 

I've talked about my hesitancy with the adoption process in the past. I felt scared that I would feel pressure to accept a match that wasn't right for us, or guilt about turing a situation down. I was scared that the birth parents would change their minds and we would end up even more heartbroken.   

I don't feel that anymore, which is surprising to me.  D says that I've been ready for this moment for longer than I knew, perhaps as early as when we first decided to adopt embryos, many years ago.  I think it's because it's the right match for us. 

D is very anxious about something going wrong (mostly that the birth parents change their mind) and being devastated again.  I can tell he is worried about me being so excited. 

It's in the back of my mind too, but I am trying not to let that doubt ruin this happy time. Most people get 9 months + to be excited about their baby coming. We only get 2 months, and I don't want to waste that time on excessive worrying. 

With everything that just happened with our friends and their adoption, I suppose D's anxiety is not surprising.  The only surprising part, might be that I'm not feeling it as much, even though I am a big worrier too. 

As my Grandmother said, even people who are pregnant feel anxious about the birth, and that something could go wrong.  It's part of expecting. 

Don't get me wrong, there is a part of me that is fr-eak-ing out and scared shitless.  However, I am way more excited.  

This feels right to me. It feels like the right match and the right time. 

We have told some of people in our life who we are closest too. It's been so fun sharing this good news and hearing their reactions. People are so genuinely happy for us. It feels great. 

We will wait to tell more people until after we meet with the birth parents in September.  After we meet with them, our match will be considered official. 

From there, we will prepare for the baby (a nursery- OMG!!!!) and wait for him/her to arrive. 

It is our hope that the baby will leave the hospital with us. After the birth, there is a waiting period for the paperwork to be completed etc. if all goes smoothly, the adoption could be finalized 29 days after the baby is born. 

We will be holding our breath until that day. And then, we will shout it from the roof tops!   

Strangely, I feel really unprepared for an infant.  You would think that in 7 years of trying for a baby, and seeing my friends with theirs, that we would have spent some time thinking about, you know, parenting!?!! Or having a list of boys and girl names? Or having a mental list of things we will or won't do. But we haven't allowed ourselves this luxury before.  

I guess it all felt too heartbreaking, before and too painful of a reminder of we were so desperately missing. I can't wait to start learning about all of this stuff. 

Until we meet the birth parents (in early September), I am going to focus on finishing up my home projects.  When I wrote the update post recently, including a list of some of the home projects we did, I almost wrote about how all of the stuff I was doing felt like nesting.  
I thought I was "nesting" for our 2WW from next frozen transfer and possibly a pregnancy. Guess the universe had something different in mind. :)

Next week, I plan to meet with my family doctor and a lactation consultant to discuss breastfeeding (I'm just researching my options and haven't decided what I want to do yet- more on this topic to come, and comments on this are appreciated and welcomed). I want to also make some lists of what we will need for the baby, so when we get the next green light (the September meeting), we can go out and get things after.  I want to do lots of reading too. 

Especially because the BMom is a smoker, I want to be prepared for a baby that could come early. 

As for the BMom and Bdad's social and medical histories, we got some more information. I feel really good about their situations (I just wish there was no smoking-but that goes without saying).  I can't wait to meet them, and see what their personalities are like, what they look like, and see that precious bump that holds our future. 

Holy cow. This is still happening. 


Ps) I'm looking to read more adoption blogs, are there any you would recommend? 


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

You guys....

THEY CHOSE US!!! 

The baby is due Oct 15th.  We are so excited! 

OMG. 

More info to come! 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Adoption counselor: "There is a baby due in October".

We got this message over the weekend from our adoption agency.

They gave us a limited social and medical history (below).  They asked if we wanted to be presented to the birth parents this Wednesday?

Here's the scoop:

The birth mother is 20, and the birth father is around that age too.  They are both Caucasian.  There has been no illegal drugs or alcohol. She says she smokes 6 cigarettes per day.  She has been taking prenatal vitamins and been receiving medical care, including taking some prescription drugs in her early pregnancy for morning sickness and a UTI.  She had a depressive episode where she was hospitalized when she was 19, after breaking up with her boyfriend.   She called herself bipolar after that experience, although she is has not been medicated since then and has been doing well.  The social worker believes that this diagnosis was not made by a doctor, and that it could be inaccurate.

They don't want much openness, and are anxious to make an adoption plan for their child.  The birth mother's family are supportive of an adoption placement.  The birth father's mother is not, but both he and the birth mother are strong in their opinion that they don't want her to parent this child.

The social worker said the mother was pretty.  That he likes performance cars and trucks.  It's so weird what information you get, and what information you don't get.  At this stage, they just share with us, what they think are the basics.  If they choose us, we'll learn a lot more.

D was quickly onside with knowing he wanted to be presented.  Our social worker said that no drugs or alcohol exposure is rare.   My first thought was of my four little embabies, and how my period had just arrived.  I thought about carrying our baby.

I know those embabies will be there for us later.   This child is on his or her way in 2 months.

We decided to be presented.  We will know if we made the short list, were declined or were selected on Wednesday or Thursday.

There are so many emotions for me right now.

Life could change in a hurry.


Stepping out of the darkness...together

....This post was from earlier in the summer.... I am just getting around to editing and publishing it now. 

The winter and spring were dark times.  I didn't realize it at the time, but there was a quiet undertone in my thoughts, where I blamed myself for what I was feeling.

I chose fertility over adoption, again.  Maybe it was the wrong choice. 

My body failed us, again.  

If I had made my life fuller, and crafted more meaning and purpose in other arenas of my life, maybe this loss wouldn't hurt so much. 

I shouldn't need so much support.  

Why me, why us, why our baby, AGAIN? 

Today, I realize it wasn't all my fault.  We made choices together with the best information we had at the time to get here.  There were a lot of compounding factors.  There was just so much to grieve.   I remind myself that my three pregnancies and four babies were (and are) a big deal.   That our infertility is a big deal.   That is why I was (and am) grieving.    

I want to write it out here so that I remember.  So, if I ever have to visit those depths again I can re-read this.   They are not excuses.  They were my reality.

Note to self:  You can't control how you feel.   It is ok to grieve, even if it takes a long time.  There were compound factors to my situation.  

There was a recipe to my grief:




Winter weather

+

The cumulative grief of infertility and loss


A lack of social support


Social isolation


Hormonal manipulation &  pregnancy/miscarriage hormonal factors

+

No positive distractions

=

Grief, Depression & Anxiety



We have been at the cottage since early May. We've made plans to return home, which have changed again and again. Now finally, we have arranged to travel back in the third week of August. I love it here- and already I feel sad about leaving. We have been away for much longer than planned originally and we need to check in at home. 

Taking a fertility break for this long was not what I originally wanted, but it is what I got. It has been so tremendously healing. Eating, drinking, and no pills. Ahhh. 

I/we needed this time and place to recharge so desparately. I am still fragile but at least I feel that I have time to glue the pieces back together.  

Sadly though, this summer, D has sunk farther into his depression.  His anxiety has also grown. 

After a big talk yesterday, I understand now that he needs more support from me.  I am all he has, his friends and family only talk about only "level 1" topics as we refer to it.  He needs more support. 

He's grieving heavily.  He is sad about turning 38. He is very sad about not having children.  About the big changes that have happened in his industry.  About his loss of spirituality, and about the loss of mine.   I think he may be sad about being away from home, and his friends too, but he insists he likes being where we are, but yes, he does miss 'his people' at home.  

His grief is expressed a lot different than my grief, and it is harder for me to recognize.  His grief is angrier.  It is moody.  It is grumpy.  It is more frustrated.  It is lonely.  It is less sexual.  It often seems more mad than sad.  It worries, a lot.  All of those symptoms are hidden in other places and situations, and not necessarily discussed within the context of infertility and loss.  

At times, even when I do recognize his grief,  I've been selfishly shielding myself.  I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit this.  However,  I have been treading water for so long myself, I was exhausted.  I finally felt like I could see the shore.  Getting back in the water with him is difficult. I feel like I barely escaped it the last time. 

After our chat, I know he needs me to swim beside him. To be his lifeguard.  So, I'll be jumping in more.  

I wish I could waive my magic wand and make things all better for him.   It's so hard to see him suffer. 








Friday, 8 August 2014

It's been a while


Oh blog, and bloggy friends.  I didn't mean to be away for so long.  I missed you! I've been following along with many of your journeys.  I just haven't been focusing much on my writing about my own.  I've mostly been taking a big break from everything fertility.  It's been great.

It's been a busy summer for me. There have been many home projects and lots of socializing which has been nice.  We've been at our summer cottage since early May.  I haven't been home or wanted to go home (yet).

I wanted to keep a record for myself of what I've been up to and thought you may be interested too?

Home Projects:

We bought this place while it was under a blanket of snow. At the time, we didn't really view the place we bought as a fixer-upper.  However, a lot of things needed to be done below the surface.  I think the previous owners must have been very busy and/or fell out of love with this place long before they moved.  There was a lot to do, but we're getting a handle on it now.  Much of it, was stuff that you might not even notice until you were here and stayed a while.   They kind of half-ass fixed the things guests/potential buyers could see, and didn't maintain much else.  It's interesting getting a little glimpse into people's lives by living in a house after them.  It really does tell you a lot about someone.

I've been on a mission to get things cleaned up while the weather is nice.  I also want things to be in good shape before my next frozen transfer, especially because a lot of the things I've been doing will be off limits later on... hopefully for 9 months!

Here are the home projects we tackled:

  • Refinished the basement rec room-  My Mom and I scraped off sail boat and burgundy/forest green striped wallpaper.  I removed some dated vertical blinds. I fixed the eight kajillion holes that I found under the wall paper.  Everything got a fresh coat of paint, including the brick fireplace.   Have you ever cleaned and painted brick? Whoa nelly.  It takes a long time to make it look nice.  I have a new appreciation for people who paint the exteriors of their homes now. We also added some new baseboard and trim.
  • With the help of my brother we added new wiring for a ceiling fan in our bedroom and for the rec room.  Adding the wiring for the bedroom was a big job because we had to cut into the walls and fish the wires through. 
  • Touched up the basement hallway paint.  
  • We also replaced half of the house's receptacles and switches .  The other half require something special and we hope to do them later on. 
  • I painted the fence and deck.  D added more spindles to deck to make it safer for little humans.  Only about a quarter of the exterior of the deck was painted before I did this - the only part of the deck that was painted was what showed in the real estate pictures, of course! 
  • I repainted 2 bathrooms.  Including painting the inside of the cupboards which were NASTY and I cleaned the inside of the bathroom fans and now they work much better (yuck). 
  • Painted my bedroom closet.  This turned out to be a big job because there was water damage hiding behind some old mirrors that were left behind.   Why do little jobs always grow into bigger ones?
  • Bought a new rug for D's office and cleaned his office.
  • Hung 2 sets of bedroom curtains.  
  • Reworked 1 garden, planted some flowers and did some serious pruning and shrub removal. 
  • We took 2 pick up truck loads to the dump.  It was garbage that the previous owners had dumped into the bush.  Shingles, tires, old trim, bath tub faucets, old tarps! What big mess! 
  • Re-graded part of our driveway that is gravel including weeding. I may or may not have used the help of a 2 year old, 3 year old and a bunch of Tonka trucks. 
  • We did "phase 1" of reclaiming the waterfront from the overgrown mess that it was.
  • We removed two delapitated birdhouses and large pole from awkward location. 
  • Organized the garage... a few times! 
  • Installed our dock. 

Some other things we've been doing: 

  • We've been going to lots of yard sales, to buy tools and other household things we need.  We've bought some seriously good junk including tools a brand new portable air condioner for $15 and some awesome painted solid wood dressers which I am using for night tables for $10 each
  • I learned how to make homemade pasta from my cousin. Yum.  It's one of those things I now *almost* wish I didn't know how to do for the sake of my waist line. 
  • I joined a soccer house-league and play once a week.
  • Took four day trips with D to small towns within a couple of hours driving distance. 
  • Visited my dad's cottage.
  • Visited another cottage rented by my best friend's family.  She was having marital problems and was outnumbered by kids so I went for a few days to help out and to relax.    
  • Went to a family wedding.  That weekend I hosted my sister and her boyfriend for a couple of days.  It was our first family wedding in five years.  I had an awesome time! 
  • I went on a garden tour with my grandma. I loooooved it!!  Snooping around people's garden's is my favourite! 
  • Bicycling and hot tubbing and drinking coffee and booze!
  • Bought a boat. 
  • Babysat my nephew for the day.
  • Helped with yardwork at my brother's house.
  • Went to my grandma's 86th birthday party.
  • Visited my aunt at her trailer.  Went boating and swimming there.
  • Dogsat a couple of afternoons.
  • Celebrated D's 38th birthday at a great little restaurant using a gift card we were given. It's our new favourite local spot. Imagine a quaint rustic historic building nestled on a riverbed serving Italian food. There 10 tables and 4 employees. A cook, a sous chef, a server and one dishwasher. The food is prepared in front of your eyes, and is made from local amazingness.  YUM.
  • Went to a bachlorette and dancing at a bar. I haven't done that in for-ev-er! I felt really old, and and let's face it, I was almost twice the age of many of the patrons.  And I was completely sober because I was the designated driver.    


Hosting Guests: 

This has made the home projects a little trickier to do, because we are always having to clean up our reno projects before company comes.  It also provides good motivation to get things done.

  • 45 people for a birthday party for my cousin. 8 friends spent the weekend.  It was a crazy weekend.  In short: 
    • D got drunk and spent a good chunk of the night puking.  
    • One of our single guy friends was caught masturbating in the bathroom by 9 of our other guests (who were sitting outside).  Whoa.  Seriously embarrassing for everyone.  I still can't believe it happened. 
    • Someone wrote on my wall with pen (and spelled what they wrote incorrectly).  I'm still peeved about this and I don't think they'll be invited back any day soon!  
    • Someone accidentally let out our 21 lb indoor cat, and after some frantic searching, he came home on his own 48 hours later. 
  • Hosted another couple and their 2 kids aged 2 & 3.  
  • Hosted D's parents twice.  Was nice to my MIL the whole time even though she annoys the shit out of me. 
  • Hosted 4 of my university friends for 3 days.
  • Fed my various family many times when they came to help.
  • Hosted a birthday party for my dad.


The company was good, but I think we overdid it a little bit.   We've decided not to host any overnight guests for the rest of the summer to give us a little breathing room.

Fertility: 

Even though we weren't focused on this, there was a little bit going on.

  • I drove 2 hours away for a HSC and spent the night at a friend's.  I got my shop on in big city that day.  I need to return most of what I bought (bedding doesn't fit!) but it was fun anyways. The Doc gave me the all clear and says everything looks good - phew! .
  • Finished up all of my blood work to make sure my HCG was less than 5.  That took at least 5 visits and almost 2 months.
  • Recently I organized my meds and upcoming cycle.
  • Trying to support D is his grief- there's a post on that that I got too lazy to edit and never published.  I will do that soon.  The summer's been rough on him.
  • I got mad at CCRM for repeatedly forgetting my history and not re-testing my no result embryos (3 weeks late) and for suggesting bcps as a part if my protocol again (which I can not take).  I sent a short but to the point email about fixing this situation.  
  • We got the results of our no-result embryos and we have ONE MORE NORMAL!!!! THAT MAKES FOUR!!! :)))


Adoption:

  • Sent a letter to 6 government officials advocating for a longer leave for adoption (when compared to maternity leave where I live). Got two letters back which weren't what I was hoping, including one very detailed one.  I'm thinking of my response. 
  • Arranged a meeting to look into public adoption.
  • Got our pictures taken for our adoption book (that reminds me! I need to order some prints!)


Life in general:

Our house has mostly been clean and we've been eating a lot of eating fresh, homemade meals.  I feel way better when my house is in control and my belly is full of good food.

Overall it's been a good few months. I am so very grateful. I especially love having my family around, and that I can see them frequently.  The fact that they are mostly handy and willing to help is great too.  My heart is full right now.  I want to remember this.  This is what good feels like.  This is what life with less focus on infertility and loss feels like.

It's got me thinking that maybe I could survive being child free if I had too.  D's on a different page.  I'm not giving up by any means, but after seven years of this IF bullshit,  it's relieving to feel like there's a part of me that could be okay, even if things didn't work out.

This winter, I was feeling like I wasn't capable of feeling happiness anymore.  That, that part of me was gone.  It really was the biggest fuck you that infertility and loss has dealt me yet.  It felt like not only could I not have (or keep my) babies, but I couldn't have any other happiness either.

I'm glad to have escaped that, at least for a while.  I just wish D could get more relief too.  My happiness is far from complete when he is feeling depressed and anxious.

I don't mean to sound like things have been perfect. They haven't been.  I have been moody.  So has D.  We've had our fights.  I have had mad and sad days.  I still feel infertility's dark little shadow creep over my shoulder every now and again.

If I listened to her, right now she'd remind me that the summer will be over before I know it.  That I always feel more depressed in the winter.  That the winter will be quiet and lonely at home.  That I will miss this place I am at right now.  She reminds me that there will be more difficult decisions to be made, more hormonal roulette to be played.  And there very well could be more grief.  That D is in a dark hole, and it could get worse for him.

For now though, I am aiming to shut her down.  To try to be mindful of the moment I'm in, and grateful for what is good today.