Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Adoption/Conception Myth!

Lovingly, I feel I must dispell this myth. Statistically, 5% of people who adopt a baby after years of infertility go on to conceive on their own.

It's fun - I hear this all the time. Then it's like a puzzle trying to figure out how to straighten out this misconception (ha ha, mis-conception - get it??) without sounding defensive. I know I have done this to some people now reading this blog. Guess what? I love you for wanting to comfort me with the hope that we could still get pregnant! It's much better than, "Maybe God does not mean for you to be parents." (No one has said that to me, but believe me it happens.)

I think every time I have mentioned in conversation that we are planning to adopt someone has said, "You know, my friend so-and-so got pregnant as soon as they decided to adopt. It happens a lot." IMHO, the main reason for this is, you never hear from the thousands of people who have adopted after infertility say, "You know, I adopted a baby and I never got pregnant. Can you believe it?" The sensational story always gets portrayed, doesn't it?

Of course it happens. It could totally happen to us. There is a chance that we might still conceive, as long as my lovely endometriosis stays at bay (not likely) and other prerequisite things keep happening (wink-wink). But there is also a chance that it won't happen. That's OK, too. (Did I say that??) Because God is in control and He gets to decide on these big ones.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

Can I get a witness?!?

Infertility Sensitivity Training

Here is your guidebook for things not to say to people like me (reproductively infertile):

"Maybe God does not mean for you to be parents."
"Just relax and it will happen."
"Just adopt and it will happen." (I've experienced the paperwork - "just" and "adopt" do not logically go together!)
"Have you tried boxers?"
"Have you tried holding your legs in the air after sex?"
"Take my children for awhile."

And some others:
"I am so sick of being pregnant."
"There must be something in the water."

After someone has a miscarriage, DO say:

"I am sorry for your loss."

That's it. Do not say:

"Well, at least you know you can get pregnant."
"It's nature's way. There must have been something wrong with the baby."
"You can always have other children."
"God must have needed your baby more than you did."
"Technically, it wasn't a baby yet, but an embryo." (Life begins at conception, it really does.)

DO: Send a card saying, "I am sorry for your loss." That's it.

DO: Offer to bring the family a meal. Meals rightfully get distributed to people who have just had a baby. I'm all for that (hint-hint - adoption counts as "having a baby"). But going through a miscarriage is often just as difficult as giving birth and you don't have a sweet baby at the end of it. It's just devastating. Food is good. Dole it out often. My lovely friend Edan brought us a meal after I had my laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis. My initial instinct was to decline, thinking I didn't deserve it. But, I said yes and this was so meaningful to me (plus, it was delicioso). Edan also brought me flowers on Mother's Day. This was almost unbearably thoughtful. Sniff, sniff.

This was a crash course. Feel free to add any "Do's and Don'ts" in a comment if you have had experiences with this.

Please, please know that if you are reading this and you think, "Oh no, I've said such-and-such," that you are forgiven. After the painful situation has passed I will remember that you love me and meant nothing but good things and comfort. I know I have said some ridiculous things to people and I cringe thinking of them (Like when I told my friend in pre-term labor how another friend almost died in the same situation. NOT sensitive!) Sometimes I will respond better than other times. This is true in any situation, isn't it?

Now, for some comic relief, here is my brother with a chainsaw. Don't mess with this guy!

Friday, October 28, 2005


Well, lest it appear that I am being cavalier about my emotional recovery from infertility, the IF monster strikes back. Oh well, this is going to happen. Here is what's going down.

The other day I read that Brooke Shields and her husband were going to adopt a baby instead of doing IVF again. I was feeing a lot of commeraderie with her about that - a fellow IF'er pursuing adoption. Then yesterday I read that she is pregnant and I feel betrayed. First, how stupid is this? I don't know Brooke Shields, and I wouldn't even know about this if I weren't such an internet snoop. So now I feel betrayed by Brooke Shields? Betrayed by someone I don't even know. Does this sound so sad?

Next, this morning I was talking with a friend who, she and her husband, just started trying to get pregnant. She was filled with optimism that she would get pregnant soon. I am feeling a sense of loss about that optimism. I remember those days fondly, hoping and expecting that it would be easy for me to conceive, just like it had for most of my friends and family. Last year another friend started "trying" and was also filled with that easy spirit about it. She conceived in 2 months. This is a loss brought about through IF that people don't think of -

The loss of innocence and hopeful expectation of an easy pregnancy.

These feelings may be overshadowed by a day off tomorrow. It has been a monumentally busy week. I have a choir concert tonight involving ice cream afterwards. Last night I ate the best caramel apple in the world. The WORLD, I tell you! More on that later...stay tuned! Comfort foods? You bet!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

There's a fungus amung us...

Yeesh. My toenail is falling off. This is adoption-related because a) there is really nothing to report yet on the adoption front, and 2) well OK, it isn't related at all. Today was apparantly my last day in cute sandals for awhile. This is just as well because it's getting "cold" (high of 78 degrees!), and because my super-cute sandals kill my feet. I didn't plan my walking day very well. (Please tell me I won't get in trouble using the Lamisil tm guy on my bloggy.)

My new vocabulary word of the day is, "Yeesh." Tres descriptive, yes?

Actually, here is something - Randy has begun filling out his "oh-crap-do-I-have-to-be-perfect-to-adopt-a-child" questionnaire. I think, "Oh, crap, will I not be approved because of my dirty sailor vocabulary?" In other words, are you allowed to say "crap" and be considered a fit parent? Randy's least favorite question so far is, "Describe why you are/are not satisfied with yourself." He has obviously not gotten very far in this questionnaire, because my favorite question is, "Describe your teenage years, including any traumatic events." (Where is my gasping emoticon?) The last thing I want to do as a relatively secure adult is rehash my teenage years! Right now my mom reading this says, "Yeesh!"

Oh, the joys of the adoption paper trail.

This morning at breakfast at Einstein Brothers a pregnant lady walked in. Two things went through my mind: first was, she is not wearing shoes as cute as mine, and second, Hey, I don't feel sad for myself. (Poke-poke, poke-poke on the bruise.) Nope. Nothing. How did this happen? Strains of the Halleluia Chorus echoed through my bagel brain. He will turn my mourning into dancing...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Message

The message was that all things are possible for God! The preacher, a congregation member, told a true story about his young daughter (who I know from kid's choir) who had one in a series of many surgeries for a physical condition she has had since birth. The man asked the doctor, "How will we know if the surgery worked?" and the doctor replied, "Oh, you'll know immediately if the surgery was a success." Not so. Five weeks after the surgery she came home from school and told her mom, "I think everything is going to be OK now." Mr. S. and his family and friends had prayed and prayed that the surgery would work, and enlisted many church members to pray, too. The doctor was amazed when, in fact, the surgery had been a success, even though he had not thought it possible after 5 weeks of recovery.

This story probably meant more for me than for most because I know this precious little girl well from having her in choir 2 years ago. I also know her mom as a Mary Kay representative (which I am not), so I am invested in this family's life by association. But also, this was the first time in a long time that I have really had hope of what might be possible with God for our little family. I have always known that "all things are possible for God" does not mean that God will answer every prayer in the way we initially desire. This time, though, I truly felt like that was OK. Was our prayer that we would conceive a child and have a baby and did God said "no," or did we pray for a baby and God is saying "yes?" Maybe we did pray for a pregnancy and resulting baby and He said "no." And, ya' know what? That's fine. I have peace. Finally.

This isn't to say that I will never have another pang of "Why not us, Lord?" Or that I will never look at another pregnant belly and wish I could have one of my own (because I'll tell you what - I'm surrounded!), or that I will not continue to grieve not having a sweet baby made up of Randy DNA and Amy DNA. It's just to say that 1) it's still possible, although maybe not likely, and 2) I no longer have to rely on our own conception in order for us to receive God's perfect will and deeply love and cherish the soul who will be our baby, wherever that person is created.

It's hard to convey God's message after the fact, because at the time it was revealed to me the Holy Spirit was working intently in my heart on this very matter. Now I get to live with this beautiful reality for awhile.

I'm getting my socks blessed off these days.

My Ceiva is broken, so...

I "flipped out" on our third amniversary! We went to Fonda San Miguel for dinner after a busy Wednesday. Three years has flown by and I can't wait for the next 3+ years.

Ain't love grand?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ramblings - the last few days

The last few days have been exhausting, and none of it has anything to do with adoption!

Thursday I taught middle school boys. I alluded to this in my last post. This was nuts! We were absolutely crammed into a 4.5 x 4.5 foot room, 4 boys, one me, and a CD player that none of us could get to work. The song had both "but" (I know, not butt, except this was hilarious anyway for these dudes), and "breast" in it. Who writes a song for middle school with "breast" in it? I had to sing that part and I just played it down as best I could. I think I sang, "brea" instead one time. It was talking about a goose's breast, but again, these are middle schoolers. (To his credit, I had one ally, B who even as a 7th grader cooperated with me.)

Friday was a regular day of classes and Randy and I went for sushi for dinner! This is an indulgence that rarely happens when you are wanting to get pregnant, as eating it can cause damage to a developing fetus. Since it is possible I might never have to worry about feti (is this plural of fetus?? ;o), it was a celebration to go for sushi. My new favorite is onago!

Now for Saturday. (I look 100 years old today as a result, and my lipstick will not come off. This is creating a very eerie effect, and I look mildly ill.) Anyway, I took part in an all day choral festival in San Antonio. I am singing with the UT Austin Women's Chorus this semester. I got up at 5:15 so I could get to Wal Mart (this is not where the festival was held) at 6:30 as instructed the day before. So I arrive there at 6:35 thinking, "Shirley, they could not have left right at 6:30," because only two other people were there. One hour later at 7:30 we finally left the parking lot (!) Krispy Kreme donuts in hand, we set off for SA (get it? San Antonio?? A little IF joke.) We began singing at 9:30 and never stopped. We literally sang for 6 hours, for random breaks in between. We got home at 11:30.

The choral festival was amazing. Our director was Dr. Janet Galvan from Ithaca College in New York. She was absolutely inspirational and extremely talented. She also looked like my friend Karen so that was especially fun. I felt like I got to play with Karen all day! My two favorite pieces we did were a Brazilian piece called O Sapo, where our voices were used as percussion and we got to do the samba on the risers, and This is the Day, a gospel piece where we swayed and clapped, and called out "Amen" to our soloists who were interspersed throughout the piece. We got a standing ovation! What a thrill! It has been a long time since I have felt really engaged in performing something and have been rewarded by cheering fans. It made me want to sing choral music for the rest of my life. THAT was what singing in an ensemble was all about. I so wish I had a CD of the performance. I am really proud of our work. (I think I won't quit my day job, though.) And yes, I can still talk and sing. Wow!

I don't even have time to post about the awesome message from church this morning. I feel very blessed.

For my next trick, I will wrap up this post for today. We have been telling people about our adoption plans and absolutely everyone is enthusiastic about it. We continue to receive comments like, "Oh, I know someone who adopted through Buckner." Now, do we want to replace our carpet right before a spitting up baby or wait until s/he is 19?

See you! (People know about my noveletta, now! See, "Rae."

Psalm 30:11 "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness."


Ooh - thanks Rae, for being my first comment! Love it!


Thursday, October 20, 2005

The IF monster

Fortunately for most people, they don't know that IF stands for infertility. It is a savage beast, impossible to be soothed! Even when a couple who has been infertile gets pregnant, the grief and pain of infertility still lingers.

"Infertility" is diagnosed when a couple has been regularly romantic (or "friendly" as my Nurse Practitioner used to say) for a year without birth control, or are unable to carry a pregnancy to term. This is different from "sterility" which means that either the wife or the husband has a physical condition that would make pregnancy impossible (e.g., a hysterectomy).

For some reason, when I was younger and before I was married, I always had this impression that I would not be able to have children. I imagined the doctor saying to me, "I'm sorry. I'm afraid you will never be able to have children." I imagined how devastated I would be, and that I would somehow get through it and adopt a child. I never imagined that the real story would be month after month, year after year of disappointment; one miscarriage, tests, surgeries, shots, pills, hormones, hopes, no hopes, and no baby.

It's weird, when I go through something and come out on the other side, how it seems unreal that it really happened to me. After two and a half years of infertility I am beginning to feel like myself again. I remember what it is like to be excited about the possibility of having a baby in the house. After so many months of disappointment I no longer had much hope that all our efforts would result in a pregnancy. My reality became counting cycle days, drugs, shots, a doctor's office, two weeks waiting and the dreaded words from the nurse, "It's negative." If you know me, please never say those words to me for any reason!

Here is an excerpt from a recent post I made on my favorite website -

"For me, IUIs have become an addictive behavior! It's like gambling - you never know when your payoff will be, but you know you have some chance, however slim, of winning the lottery. So saying "no more" and then "what if?" keeps me in the cycle. SAY NO TO CRACK! I have also used the comparison about IUIs like being in a bad relationship - you always think it could possibly get better and it's really hard to let go. Then once you do it hurts like crazy but there are moments of such clarity and joy in which you can finally look forward to the future."

Praise God those moments are coming more and more frequently.

I need to redefine "fertile." Every week I bring the gift of music to people with special needs. I teach singing, piano, and guitar. My students continue to make music after I leave them (like Mary Poppins). I am a child of God, the Creator of heaven and earth. I make people laugh, I give hugs to little children. I can take yarn and turn it into soft baby blankets, and I will give life to a child even if I don't give it birth. I will give hope and comfort to our child's birthparents and family by providing a loving home for their loved one.

(I wasn't feeling so nurturing earlier when those middle school boys were snickering at the word "but" in a song we were singing.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It's official!

We have really decided to use Buckner Adoption Agency! I, of course, am already almost finished with my paperwork. It is astounding the information we have to provide that people who get pregnant get to keep to themselves forever! Fortunately for me, I LOVE to talk about myself and blab all about my personal life. So, it was fun.

No, I am not going to publish my answers here! Do you really want to know about my worst job ever, or every detail about my relationship with my husband? Don't say yes!

Oh, my hair. I really have to do something about this. See you later! (Even though nobody knows about my little blog, maybe I should tell someone??)

God is good, all the time!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Uh, hello? I doing this right?

Congratulations! We're adopt a baby.