Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poked, Prodded, and Violated

Someone I follow on twitter was talking about a procedure she needed to have done in order for her doctor to sign off on her homestudy physical and she said, "...feeling violated, but you gotta do what you gotta do." That really hit home with me because that's what I have been living for 7 years. First with fertility treatments and now with the adoption process.

Trying to get pregnant was one disaster after another for me. It started with going off of birth control a few months before we got married. My body decided to revolt by growing polyps and abnormal cells and bleeding for two months straight. That was just the beginning.

I was always really shy about being examined. I remember when my gynecologist sent me to a fertility specialist I was upset that I would have to have "that" exam by another person. Little did I know within the next couple years I would be seen by so many different doctors I would lose count. Ten? Twenty? I really don't even remember. I also lost count of how many procedures I have had done. Biopsies, internal ultrasounds...it all became common.

I had to have three surgeries to remove polyps and abnormal cells. When I woke up from the first one, my bed was shaking and I couldn't figure out what was going on. Someone came running over and put a bunch of warm blankets on me and that's when I realized it was *me* shaking. The next surgery I woke up to someone yelling at me to breathe. I was tired and just wanted them to go away. I was apparently too tired to breathe. They needed to wake me up enough for me to start breathing again. I think they gave me too much anesthesia that time.

You know what really creeps me out about the surgeries? The fact that there were so many people there. As I would go to sleep, I would look around and see more and more people coming in. So there I am half naked on a table with a crowd watching and I am completely out so I have no idea what they're doing or saying. Talk about feeling violated.

I actually did not spend very much time on fertility treatments. Most of the time was spent dealing with my body reacting badly to every hormone I took. The fertility specialist sent me to an oncologist because the abnormal cells got bigger and badder over time. Before the fertility specialist would do anything, she would need to check with the oncologist each time. I was a mess. The hormones made me gain weight. A lot of weight. And I was sick and pale all the time. I finally got cleared to do injectables and I ended up being allergic to the medication. My injection sites were red, swollen, and hot to the touch. I never complained though because "you gotta do what you gotta do." It was working and that was all I cared about. Turns out, it's not okay to ignore it. I started running a fever and that's when they realized I was allergic to it and it gave me a systemic blood infection. I had to stop immediately. Yet another freak reaction keeping me from moving forward. (There were lots of jokes about writing a case study about me. I think they were only half kidding.)

Unfortunately, stopping the fertility meds so suddenly caused an even bigger reaction. A couple weeks later I started bleeding. The bleeding quickly turned into hemorrhaging. I was very pale and completely out of it, so my husband and mom took me to the hospital. Good thing since it turns out, I had lost half of all the blood in my entire body. That 3 day hospital stay was full of poking, prodding, and me feeling completely violated. In so many ways. Including being violated by the health care system in general.

Due to my near death experience, my husband and I chose to stop trying. For the next two years, I had bleeding and cramping every single day. All while taking large amounts of hormones to keep me from bleeding to death. We eventually decided to do some research on adoption. We went to an orientation and we knew this was right for us. It was a light bulb over our head kind of moment. Adoption. Of course. Duh.

The adoption process is a whole other version of poked, prodded, and violated. It has not been an easy road. But at least now I know we are on the right road.

I still do hold out hope that someday we can try again to get pregnant. I was allergic to that one kind of injectable medication, but there are plenty of others to try. I don't know if we ever will, but I think I still need to keep that hope. For now, I couldn't be happier about our choice in adoption. I know this is right for us. That's why I am willing to let them do as much poking, prodding, and violating as they need to do.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

14 Months

Today makes 14 months that we have been "homestudy ready" and waiting for a match.

In the beginning, it was exciting. The idea that at any moment we could get "the call" and be parents.

We started buying things here and there. It began with a onesie and then before you know it, we were buying a crib.

A few months later, we had a full nursery:

Once the excitement wears off, you are just left with the waiting.

Our agency was going through a slow patch for a while and in the first 6 months of our wait, we were only profiled once. In 2009, things picked up a little bit and we were profiled more. It helped that we have made changes to all our grids. For those of you not familiar with the grids, there are 3 of them. One of them is medical- possible special needs of the infant, and the medical histories of the birth family. Another one is which races and ages you are open to. The third one is what degree of an open adoption you are open to- pictures, letters, visits, identifying information, etc. Over time, we have made changes to all our grids. Going over and over things and researching as much as we can. Agonizing over every decision. I am happy with where we are at now in all our grids. I wish we had started out as open as we are now because I am sure we missed many opportunities in the beginning. I guess that is all part of the journey.

We have also made changes to our profile. Switching pictures, background paper, things on our "favorites" page....all things that will probably make no difference, but make us feel better. When we are chosen, it will probably be for some completely random reason that we could never have guessed.

I think one of the hard things about a 14 month and counting wait is the people that avoid bringing the adoption up. Like they don't want to remind me I am still waiting. (I am thinking of it everyday whether someone reminds me or not.) It's nice when I get to talk about it because it makes me feel like people are excited for it. That there is still a feeling of hope. I need that to keep going. Even if I sometimes doubt it myself. One of my favorite days in the last 14 months was when I went to garage sales with my mom to get baby clothes. Not because of the great deals we found, but because it was a day of hope. It was a day of imagining a baby wearing those clothes.

Another difficult thing is being left behind by your other waiting friends. It's the best moment of their life. You know their story. You know how hard their journey has been. You are filled with happiness for them. But...you know you are being left behind. It's very lonely.

We have not received a call from the agency about a case in months now. We kind of have an understanding that they will profile us for cases that are a good fit without calling me each time. Getting invested in every case was too painful over time. This way has been a lot easier on me. Although I do miss hearing about all the cases and knowing how often we are being profiled.

I need to keep telling myself that my time will come. I just need to be patient. If I had to wait another year, it wouldn't kill me. Even if right now it feels like it would.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Professional Worrier

I am a professional worrier. I don't even want to think about the amount of my life that has been spent worrying about things that turn out to be nothing to worry about. If I have anxiety about something, the only thing that seems to work for me is to think it to death. To think every single thought that can possibly be thought about it and then I can let it go. I wish I didn't have to do that, but I do.

This has made the adoption process very difficult for me. I think it is something that is anxiety inducing for the average person. I am hoping this blog will help me in my "thinking it to death" process.

We are currently renewing our homestudy, which expired July 26. We began renewing in early June and it has been one strange obstacle after another.

I don't think it's all the adoption paperwork that really drives us all crazy. We complain about the piles and piles of information you need to give, but I don't think that's really it. It's the little things that happen along the way that keep it from moving forward smoothly. Like when you have to get your finger prints done again because it came back that one finger was too smudged. Or when something you mail to the agency doesn't get forwarded to the right person. Or you buy defective envelopes that don't stay glued closed so your envelopes arrive at the agency with nothing in them. (Yes, that really happened.)

Right now there is one form standing in the way of our homestudy being renewed. Everything else is complete. We have even had our social worker back out to our house. We are just waiting for Adam's doctor to fax his completed physical to the agency. Should be easy, right? Well, then why has this been going on for a month now? I won't go into detail right now, but it has been a number of things from appointment scheduling mix ups to paperwork being filled out wrong. I assumed it was all done since they said they would fax it last week. I should know better than to ever assume. When I found out the adoption agency never received it, I called the doctor and the person on the phone said she can't find the form. She said she needs to wait for the doctor to come in tomorrow to search his office. Adam clearly should have taken the completed form with him after his appointment and put it in the mail, but I told him to have them fax it instead. It would be quicker that way.

I am just so tired of nothing ever happening the easy way. Nothing ever goes smoothly. I have to check on every single piece of paper. I can never assume anything has been faxed or arrived safely. I have been waiting since June to finish this renewal. That's a lot of worrying for a person like me.

There, now that I have vented, I feel better and it's time to enjoy my night with my husband. And he is one lucky man because I already did my venting on here. :)

I am so excited to watch House, How I met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

My First Post

I have never had a blog before. I don't know what I am doing. I am just going to give it a try.

My husband and I are trying to adopt a newborn domestically. We have been waiting almost 14 months. It feels even longer since it has actually been 6 years since we first tried fertility meds. So, I have been Waiting Lisa for a long time now.

I provide care for school-age children in my home. I did it for many years in a daycare center, but when we decided to adopt, I started my own business in our house so I would be home with our baby when the time came. I love it, but I miss having co-workers. I crave adult interaction. That's why I joined twitter. But, sometimes I have so much on my mind that I need to break free from the 140 character limit.

I don't know if I will be any good at this. I decided I can't care about who will read it or what they will think. This is something I have always wanted to try, so I am.

I have no idea where this blog will go, but if I had to guess, there will be posts about my adoption wait, working with children, and trying to be green. Fair warning to all, I am a liberal and I can promise you there will be some political rants mixed in. I can't help myself.