Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the tag “adoption”

The best unlaid plans

GUEST POST by

“Mom of Twins”

You are told, “if you kiss a boy, you will get pregnant.” You go through life doing the right things and following the right path: graduate high school, graduate college, get a real job, find a worthy man, marry that worthy man, and then want to start a family.

Well that is pretty much how it happened for us. I always talked about having kids and my husband made me promise to give him a year before we started a family in order to be able to do what we want: spontaneous weekends, dinner parties with friends, and sleeping in! Well, that year went by and (actually it was three years) then my husband came to me and said he was ready.

Hmmmm. I wasn’t sure I was ready.

I liked the life we had built. So we let another year or so go by. So now we were finally on the same page and we ready to go. Here comes the fun part of having a baby. Ready, set, go……..

We tried and tried and tried. Was there something wrong? This started my emotional roller coaster with the standard first step: a magic little pill called Clomid. A few months of this magic pill and still nothing. I think I may have gotten the pills without the magic.

Then the next step was to have a hysterosalpingogram.

A what????

It is a procedure where they shoot dye up your vagina to evaluate if your female parts are open. Yup, mine are all open.

While you are popping drugs and undergoing procedures, people are suggesting you relax, don’t think about it, and it will happen. How could I do that when most mornings I got to pee on a stick to monitor if I was ovulating? It is not as easy as one may think. There is always that morning where the stick starts to change colors, but it doesn’t change all the way. Then you have to make a decision: sex or no sex? Am I ovulating or not? I am indecisive by nature and now I have to make a decision whether or not the color has changed on my stick. What if I make the wrong choice and waste grade A sperm (that has been saved up the last couple of days) and make the wrong decision?

The pills and the magic sticks were the first steps toward our sex lives becoming a job, and this was only the beginning. Of course every time we had to have sex was when I really had no desire or we were exhausted. It became more of a chore and not a spontaneous act between two people who loved each other. That is when we coined the term “quick poke” which was also known as a “QP.” I will admit there were times when after our “QP” I often found myself going to sleep with pillows under my pelvis to help those poor little sperm swim toward my very wanting uterus.

After about two years of scheduled sex, pill popping, and peeing on sticks, I made a conscious decision to switch fertility doctors. This was hard because I really liked my doctor and her staff, but there was something I disagreed with her about. I had a feeling that I had endometriosis and that was a possibility for us not getting pregnant. My doctor felt that it was possible; however she did not believe that if I had endometriosis it would lessen my chances of getting pregnant. I had this “gut” feeling which started the thought of maybe I should switch doctors.

Shortly after meeting with a new fertility specialist, I had laparoscopic surgery for my endometriosis. It turned out that I had a moderately high percent of it. Well OK then….now those little swimmers will be able to finally stick to my uterus. I am all cleaned out and I felt like this could be a new beginning. I bought a new box of sticks and my husband and I got back on the scheduled sex train.

After another three or four months of not getting pregnant with just the usual sex and ovulation sticks, we decided to advance on the “you are not pregnant yet” schematic. Next were the injectables and IUIs. My mind was spinning between what drugs to take, how much of that drug to take, when my appointments were, and of course when we should and should not have sex. But we thought that of course this is going to work now that we are taking my husband’s sperm and “cleaning it up” and turkey basting it into me.

After months and months and a large sum of money (I can’t even think about it) we had our last consult with our doctor. We had a decision whether or not to take our last step on the infertility schematic or go toward a different option and adopt.

When I would get my period, I had a “heads up.” I wouldn’t feel good: I was crampy, and I was eating everything in sight. The hard thing was not getting my period; it was having to tell my husband I got it. Even though I knew it was not my fault, some how I could not help but to feel like I did something wrong, again. At this point I was physically and mentally tapped out. I could not do this any more.

We took a few months off and revised our plan to have a family. We decided we were going to adopt. We felt refreshed because even though this may be a long process, there was going to be a baby at the end. We wanted to do our homework to become more educated. So we went to some open houses at three different adoption agencies. We talked with people and listened to their adoption stories. We were becoming more and more educated about the process and more excited about this different adventure.

Until we were at our last meeting with an adoption counselor and she asked if we ever considered adopting an embryo.

Adopting an embryo? What’s that?

And that is when the spark to get pregnant started all over again. Through this entire process, I always wished that I could go through the process of being pregnant. We figured there is no reason I should have never gotten pregnant. We were always told we both had good “stuff” (sperm and eggs).

We decided to try the one last thing that was recommended. So after months of being off fertility drugs and having an emotional vacation from all the drugs we decided to try IVF. We packed our bags and took a trip to The Cleveland Clinic for our procedure. It was the best experience. They extracted seven viable eggs. The embryologist placed my husband’s grade A sperm and BAM, we had seven embryos. For three days the embryologists would call us and let us know how “they” were progressing and how many cells had divided. Could this possibly work? After those three days, the doctor placed two embryos in my uterus. We had to wait one and half weeks and I went to the doctor for a pregnancy test. My husband surprised me and took the day off from work. I got the phone call from the clinic the next day. We were pregnant.

After all the emotions, the money, and the heartache we have an instant family. We now have beautiful, healthy boy/girl twins. We could not have planned that better.

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The Surprise

Guest Post By

“MARINA”

I remember the day I had my fourth miscarriage.  It was the most painful experience of my life.  I mean that it was honestly the most physically painful experience ever.  Of course, I was in emotional pain, too.  It was traumatizing.  But, unlike the first three miscarriages, this one was truly gut-wrenching.  I threw up.  I sobbed.  I stayed in bed for days.  I was depressed.  I was exhausted.  I was angry.

I know that this blog comes out of the United States where laws are different than they are where I live.  In my country, my partner and I are legally married, though I know of many parts of the world where women are still not permitted such rights.  So, I cannot imagine how I would have made it through this without the needed health care and support that was provided for me in this time of need.  I know that I am lucky in that regard.

My partner, “Magdalena,” was wonderful through all of this.  We had decided long ago that I would carry our child.  She had some health concerns that would make it pretty unsafe for her to carry a child for nine months, so I happily agreed to bear this responsibility.

There appeared to be no medical reason why this was happening, though.  Doctors could not explain why I couldn’t stay pregnant.  They kept telling me what great news it was that I could GET pregnant.  That didn’t matter much if I never carried a baby to term, though, did it?  I had grown sick and tired of the rhetoric and started to become despondent.  I became a terrible employee.  I snapped at the people around me who I loved.  I was crumbling as a person.  This process was destroying me.

After that last miscarriage, “Magdalena” and I decided that enough had been enough.  Actually, she decided this.  I was too tired from all of this to fight with her.  She loved me and I was in no position to be making decisions at that point.

I took some time to heal.  The wounds I had at this point were more emotional than physical.  We took about a year off and tried to live happy lives as a couple.  It was idyllic, even.  We traveled.  We bought a new home near the water.  I launched a business and became pretty successful at it.  We rediscovered our happiness.

Years prior, we had investigated adoption.  We went through all of the awful paperwork and interviewing, but were told that adoption isn’t as simple as perhaps it ought to be, so we should not hang our hats on this option alone.  We, of course, didn’t and we secured a donor (a dear friend) and tried to carry a child to term on our own.  And, obviously, that didn’t work.

So, imagine our surprise when we found out that there was a child who was waiting for us in Guatemala.  If we were still interested (so many years later now!) we could meet our new family member soon.  Did we want to continue with the process?

We had rebuilt our lives at this point.  We were also both nearly 40 years old and pretty set in our ways.  We had finally come to terms with the idea that we’d never be parents.

But, we felt as though this child were a part of us somehow.  We named him Frederick.  He’s amazing.

Things don’t always turn out the way you plan.  Sometimes, they’re better than you could have imagined.

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