Sunday, January 29, 2012

I ate an entire humble pie all by myself!

I didn't think I could put this weekend into words, but here is what I'm feeling right this moment:

Exhausted. Happy. Satisfied.  Refreshed. Loved. Comforted. Hopeful.

Just laying here, thinking of the weekend I've just had, smiling at how amazing God can be when we obviously do not deserve it, I am so filled with excitement, love and pride for the women I met during the Created for Care conference that even though I am worn slap out, I couldn't possibly rest my head with all these thoughts bouncing around in there (lots of room for maneuvering, ya know).  I have reconnected.

I learned some really good things about myself this weekend and a few really not-so-good things about myself this weekend.  One or two I'm ashamed of.  Ten or twenty I'm thrilled with.  I'm NOT as alone as I thought I was.  Having all of you to write to, vent to, gather advice from, etc., has been so wonderful for my soul.  This weekend, I experienced those same things with people I could look in the eyes and SEE a reflection of my pain or my hope or my longing and I knew I wasn't alone again.  I don't have to be when God has made a way for me to meet people like you and like them.

I took tons of notes this weekend but one thing has stood out to me since Friday night and I want to share it with you here:

He finishes that which He begins.

I don't even need to say more.  But I will.  Duh.  I am going to make it through this.  Not in my time, but in His.  He will finish what He began.

Over the past few years, my faith has suffered.  I'm not proud of that.  However, I'm teachable and pliable.  Those are good things I learned.  When it has come to this infertility business, I have behaved rather insolently.  Like a child, I've covered my ears, sat down cross-legged in the middle of my life and refused to budge or listen or even try to understand anything but what I felt was my own need (& Rik's).  How utterly selfish and ignorant I've been in hindsight.  I've been so furious with people who've quoted scripture at me or at people who say maybe I'm not listening closely enough to what God has planned for me, or that maybe God didn't intend for us to have a family of "our" choosing (ouch).  I mean, I've been really ticked off at times.  I've wanted to go all Drew Barrymore a la' Firestarter on someone and light their hair on fire over some of the sweetest comments imaginable.  It wasn't them, they meant well...but I couldn't HEAR them.  I was ear-muffing it, remember?  

In my defense (I'm such an advocate for myself), when you want something SO badly and have a heart for children that is bursting to be shared and your life has been filled with failure and disappointment month after month, year after year, (pity party time) the last thing you need to hear sometimes is that you've NO control of the situation and that you need to have patience and trust.  What in the world feels trustworthy in this situation!?  What good could come of being patient when it hurts so much!? Don't answer that.  I have had some time to reflect and I get it.  My child could come of it.  It's a very real possibility.  I just haven't wanted to hear that I'm not in control.  I've made that sort of thing my business.  I have always made acquaintances with those cool girls Pride, Independence and Control.  In the 8 years prior to our fertility struggle, those hipsters kept me sane and mostly intact emotionally.  Now look at me! Such a mess.  Some clique that turned out to be huh?

It is in God's time.  Like it or not, it's true.  I heard so many stories this weekend of heart break followed by an exceeding joy that surpassed all understanding.  Women who lost a child due to an accident and felt led to adopt and acknowledging that their pain and suffering resulted in 8 children finding a new home.  Adoptions that fell through and a lack of understanding that almost sucked the life out of a household which is now bursting at the seams with love and happiness because it's been filled with four beautiful children.  We don't always understand what our purpose is or why our circumstances are what they are but we will if we listen closely enough.  I have to believe that after the stories I heard these past few days.

Next thought!

This weekend, I realized just how many lives can be affected, blessed, enriched, improved, honored, cherished, healed and saved through adoption.  My reasons for wanting to the adopt in the past started out 100% selfless. I wanted to make a difference for a child who had no one to love them.  That is until I found out that actually getting pregnant may not be an option for us.  Then adoption transformed into something that looked 40% selfless and 60% selfish.  I went from wanting to adopt domestically or fostering to adopt to cowering away from it out of fear, albeit mostly irrational fear, and desperation.  Adopting internationally was something I mostly wanted to do because of my desire to parent and love a child, but because I wanted to make a difference in a child's life as well.  The majority of the women at the conference this weekend were already parents of biological children when they felt called to adopt a child.  They wanted to help a child.  Most of them hadn't encountered infertility.  I sat in my chair both dumbfounded and humbled by these women.  I was bewildered by the realization that my need to love and cherish a child had completely superseded my need from long ago to make a difference for the children.  It wasn't all about them, it was mostly about me.  Bleh.  I wanted to crawl in a hole.  

So, I decided to do something selfless and attend a break-out session on Orphans in the US.  In other words, domestic adoption.  Months ago, Rik had said if we adopted, he'd probably prefer to adopt domestically and I recoiled in horror/fear/shock.  My little scrolly bar thingy in my mind read something like this:  "What if the birth mother changed her mind and took the baby back?  What if the birth mother found out where we lived and kidnapped the kid in 8 years (I told you - irrational!)?  What if we fostered and a grandparent challenged us in court and the judge gave our child back to his/her grandparent?  How would I survive that emotionally after all we've been through? ARE YOU CRAZY!?"  It was out of the question.  I didn't want to hear it.  I have passionately, in bold red ink, marked through the option of adopting an orphan in the United States.  It was too great a risk for my bruised and burned spirit.  Or so I thought.

Ladies and gentleman, I have been transformed.  My thoughts reshaped.  My heart refilled.  I had the joy of sitting in this break-out session and listening to two women speak about their journeys through domestic adoption.  Were they warm and fuzzy and easy and happy throughout the entire experience, absolutely NOT.  What adoption is?  What's romantic about adoption?  There is always going to be some type of hurt and pain involved for someone other than myself and the child.  I have been so self-absorbed in my own pain (I mean have you been reading how much self-pity I wallow in?  If you missed it, read above!) that I have never once truly considered what a birth mother will suffer through in making her decision to allow someone else to love, parent, cherish her child.  Obviously, I've thought more on this with international adoption, but honestly, not often.  It's been mine and the child's pain.  This realization about myself....well, I'm just disgusted and shocked.  I considered myself a very giving, considerate, compassionate person.  How did I lose that these last few years?

One of the speakers on this topic, Angie Gue, made domestic adoption such a reality for me that I am forever changed.  This woman's story has shown me what a Mother truly looks like in the eyes of God.  Her love and support for the birth mothers of her children blew me away.  Recognizing their hurt during her joy of becoming a mother and showing them such compassion was almost unfathomable to me.  I was amazed at her selflessness.  I connected with her even more because she is infertile.  Those children were longed for, prayed for, sought after.  Yet she cared more for the needs of the birth mothers than her own.  I can't even tell you what all she said because I could never do the stories justice.  All I can really say is that domestic adoption can be a beautiful thing for everyone involved and I am SO happy I chose to go to that session because I am a changed woman.  It was either that or "Nurturing your Marriage" (sorry honey!) and I'm glad God led me to the one I was meant to hear.

Whatever journey I began however many years ago (WHY can't I remember if I'm 32 or 31?!?!?) is not over.  It won't be until the day that I die.  Parts of it will come to an end or close but another part will continue and new paths may be forged and I will continue this journey until I no longer have breath in my lungs.  BUT.  No matter what I think I need, no matter what I ask for, no matter how convinced I am that I would be a good mother, I am finally ok knowing that I may have the honor of loving the children of my heart, not the children of my body.  

I have much more to say from the C4C conference and this may sound jumbled and make no sense but it's partly exhaustion and partly over-stimulation to my soul (in a good way) so getting this all out in some semblance of order would be quite a feat.  I love you all and I cannot thank you for all the support you have given me and are giving me now just by reading this.  I have been so encouraged by you!  If I met you this weekend, welcome to my blog and I'm so thankful for your kind words, tears and prayers.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Created for Caring!

Well, friends....  Looks like I'm headed to ATL for the adoption retreat!  I am so excited to see what this weekend brings.  :)

I'll fill you in soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thought Vomit Thursday

  • I have decided to pull my head out of my arse and stop moping around here all kinds of defeated and junk.  I used to be a very strong willed, determined, independent woman.  Now, I'm a wallowing mess of tears and snot at least once every week or two, I can't do anything involved with infertility without someone holding my hand, and I've noticed I can't even self-soothe when I get upset....I need Rik to help me through.  I've decided I've had enough of this me.  I want the old Shannon back.  I think I had it together for a few years there....I'm planning on finding that chick again and you guys are going to love her and she's going to be the best friggin' mom on the planet before you know it.  'nuff said.
  • My pants are so tight I couldn't button them today.  I've gained 16 lbs in the last year and a half.  How does that happen?!  Hmm....I refused to buy new pants so I have started eating healthier and consuming enormous amounts of water (and by enormous I mean your daily recommended amount).  I've also kicked my nasty habit of putting three spoons of sugar in my travel cup of coffee every morning (yes, I like hummingbird coffee - according to Rik).  So far, so good.  These pants will be fitting again in no time - unless I get preggers and then they can get as tight and ill-fitting as they darn well wanna.
  • I have some of the best and funniest friends in town.  I told two of my closest friends about my injection situation last night via text.  One of them, who will remain nameless but her name sounds like Leesha but starts with a K, is in the final stages of nursing school.  Her response was, "Why didn't you call me?!"  I said, "Time to be a big girl".  She said, "You're so full of crap I can't believe you didn't call me!"  haha When I asked why, she said, "I could have done the first few...just think, you could have reinforced my education!  I was robbed!" So selfless and loving!  (I was cracking up because the whole reason I told her AFTER I did the shots was because I knew she'd get all ticked off and wanna come do them for me and so to know I was right just cracked me up!)  :) I seriously LOVE this girl.  My other pal, Schmennifer but with a J, responds with this little gem (which she shared on the blog last night), "Your stomach is flat! I hate you!" and I replied with something about how she can't hate me because I don't hate her and she said, "You can't hate me! I'm fatter than you!" hahahahah.....I was in tears from laughing.  I would have worried if she had said, "Good job!  You didn't pass out!  Go team!"  "I hate you!" was so much better.  Ah....good friends are just hard to find these days.  :)  Love ya girls!!!!!!
  • I was sorely and I stress that word here people, SORELY disappointed that the pharmacy didn't send me a sharps container.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but for whatever reason, I was sooo excited to have a sharps container in my bathroom.  How many people do you know (other than yourself), that are law abiding citizens, with a sharps container in the their WC?  I mean really?  I was pumped.  It was like the silver lining for me.  And.They.Didn't.Send.One.  Ugh.  So guess what my adorably sweet hubby did today?  He called and asked them to send one in our next shipment of meds.  :)  YAY!!!!  
  • I've had a plant I've been killing and reviving now for over a year that just looks so pitiful.  I don't know if I am under-watering then over-watering out of guilt or if it's just not getting enough sunlight.  Poor thing is just pitiful and it's staring at me now with this wilted look of contempt....with it's browning leaves with crunchy tips.... and dull green stems..... Poor thing.
  • There were two wrecks outside of my work today within 20 minutes.  I've worked there for 15 months and we've never had a single wreck till today.  The funny thing is that one of the cars involved in the first wreck had some kind of crisis w/ the tow truck because he sat with his car in the median for three hours before it finally showed up.  Random people would stop and check on him, delaying traffic even more, pedestrians on a stroll would stop and talk to him but all the cops left, the other vehicles were towed or were driven away and then this poor guy just sat there all afternoon.  It was really funny and sad at the same time.
  • Ok, bye for now.  I have a needle to stab myself with and dinner to cook.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

There is Brave in Bravelle!

Well, I did it...and I'm smiling from ear to ear. I don't know why other than I'm really freaking proud of myself for not fainting! I am not even going to apologize for the horrible angle of this video, my super-southern accent, the whiteness of my flabby arms (are my arms REALLY that big!??!) or the hives on my chest....I gave myself a shot....with a needle! I am no longer a swooner. I did learn, however, it's best not to continue pressing the syringe into your tummy after it's already IN the skin....ouch. Thanks for all the support....I survived! :)~ Hopefully, I won't have to subject any of you to my midriff again until it's a baby bump. :)
love you guys.

Let the fright, fun and fainting begin!

Ok, if you're the praying type (I hope you are), please say a quick prayer for me.  I am about to give myself my very first injection and I'm going to need you all behind me (even if only in spirit) so that I have the confidence and wherewithall to go through with it.  Rik can't be here with me (or give it to me personally) so that means I have to buck up, suck it up and do it my dang self.  I was strong before, I can be strong now!  Raaaaaawwwwrrrrrrr!!!!!!

((For those of you that know my history with needles (I've come a loooong way), you know this is a huge deal right?  Keesha?  Mom?  You feel me right?  If I faint, I'll try to land on something soft!))

May or may not video.....we shall see.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I'm still here....taking up more space than usual.

Hey everyone.  Sorry I've been missing in action lately.  We had family in town, lots of Christmas dinners, then my birthday, then New Year's and honestly, it's taken me a week or so to fully recover.  My last post was full of anger, self-pity and sadness.  I'm feeling better today.  I have a better perspective and I'm doing what I can to keep the shadows at bay.  So far, so good.

While I was feeling sorry for myself, one of my favorite bloggers received some very sad and disappointing news over Christmas and it breaks my heart for her.  If you're the praying type, please send up a few prayers for her and her husband.  They need mercy and peace and at least some level of understanding bestowed upon them and even with these things in abundance, their hearts are going to take a long time to heal.

As far as my situation goes, we had another setback this past cycle.  The Anastrazole decided to hate me again and we produced only one follicle and Dr. S felt we should cancel the IUI we had planned and work with "timed intercourse" instead.  We were both pretty disappointed to say the least.  Then she went back to the ol' "next month we'll try injections" scenario (I feel like I'm riding on a gigantic yo-yo sometimes with this injection topic with her).  I just don't understand why we're not going back with Clomid which gave us the desired response on all levels.  I'm averaging the same thickness of my endometrium on Anastrazole as I did with Clomid so I don't get why we can't just stick with that since I was responding so well to it.  Oh well, I'm just the patient.  I'll do whatever will give us the best chance.

Which leads me to my next bit of information.  I think we're pretty close to being done.  Done with trying for a biological child.  Both of us go back and forth on the subject but I think that just indicates we're getting closer to giving up.  Sometimes, Rik is the one saying he's just tired of seeing us go through the emotional stuff.  Then it's me saying I'm tired of it.  We just both never seem to be tired of it at the same time.  :)  So for now, we've decided we're going to give it through April and then move on.  We may change our minds once April gets here and the panic sets in and reality hits us, but for now, that's where we are.  Realizing you will never have a biological child is going to be a hard pill to swallow.  Some of you have already taken that pill and are making it through each day somehow.  Some of you continued to battle through this infertility business and it paid off.

The doctor thinks we may have a fertilization issue which could only be corrected by IVF.  That's not something either of us want to do or try.  If I'm going to spend that kind of money, I want to bet on a sure thing.  Then again, I know adoption is never a sure thing...I'm learning that more and more the more people I meet and talk to about it.  I just can't imagine spending $20k on IVF and having it fail when I could spend a little more than that and have a better chance of bringing home a child that needs a family like ours just as much as we need it.  I won't love the child any less.  And when I think of all the children that would give anything to be loved and care for by a mom and a dad, it just seems wrong (for ME) to put my need for a biological child above that.  I don't think it's wrong for everyone, I just feel in my heart that it would be wrong for me.  It's very likely that by March or April I will feel very differently, but for now...that's where I'm sitting.  Who knows what will happen when we're actually facing that decision and have to make a choice to continue or make ourselves Plan B for a child whose Plan A fell through?

Sidenote of sorts....One of my former co-workers just picked up her daughter in China after waiting for SEVEN years for her.  In the meantime, she adopted one little boy domestically and managed to have a surprise pregnancy of her own as well.  It tugs on my heartstrings more than I can say to realize that even though she was born in their hearts as their first child, she was the last one to physically join their family.  Seven  She is a beautiful little girl and I'm sure they would do it all over again in a minute.

I am going to adoption retreat in Buford, Georgia at the end of this month with one of my blogger (and IRL) friends, Jennifer over at A Journey of Babysteps.  I'm excited, but very nervous because the retreat will be full of women already in the process of adopting and women who actually have already adopted. I am hoping that there are some women like me who know very little about the process but are interested in learning as much as they can about it.  Hopefully, it won't all be over my head.

Now, I'm going to spend a while going through all your blogs and checking up on each of you.  I'm sorry I've not been here for you these past few weeks.  I'm ashamed of myself for wallowing in this tarpit of emotions - I'll do better in the future and hopefully, none of you will have to check in on me to make sure I'm still alive.  :)  Love to you all.