Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking to the New Year

I have had some time to think about this year and the new one quickly approaching. This past year had some great times, but it was also a hard year.

This year, we started out optimistic that we would get pregnant again when we did our second IVF cycle. As we all know, that didn't happen, and it was devastating at the time. We had new hope with the prospect of adoption, but trying to scrape together $20K by saving when you're already tight proved to be impossible. Fundraising wasn't easy, and while we probably would have kept trying to hold more, we really felt that saving money to have them, and then essentially gambling that money away hoping that a fundraiser would be successful was just not something we could afford to continue. That was really hard to deal with as well. My grandfather hasn't been well for a while now, and my grandmother on the other side of my family landed herself in a nursing home after a stroke. None of these have been easy things to deal with.

We have been lucky enough to be able to really enjoy our son this year. He makes everyday one that I look forward to, if for nothing more than his hugs and kisses, and to see what new phrase he'll have that day. Usually we have lots of laughs with him (unfortunately today was one of those days with a 3 year old where it was lots of frustration instead!!!). We've been able to go to his preschool parties for the different celebrations, go on field trips, see his class sing at church, and watch them put on their Christmas program. All of these things were very special moments for us, and we made a lot of great memories.

My cousin who lost her son last year, is pregnant with his little sister this year, and is due next year! Both she and the baby seem to be in great health, and we're so excited to meet the new little one. We also had a few friends who had new babies this year, and a friend who has had a hard time with losses is pregnant again, and thankfully everything seems to be going as it should at this point. We're hopeful that Eliana arrives in March healthy as can be, and that our friend who is pregnant again brings home a healthy child next year as well.

We are going on a cruise with my mom and sister in mid-January, and that may very well be our vacation of the year. Usually we go to the Outer Banks, NC in the summer, but with needing house repairs, and then money for either another IVF treatment or to put towards adoption, it is more likely that we will go camping in the summer or fall instead, unless some of our friends and their kids want to go in on a rental at the beach with us. Anyway, Jack is very excited about the "big cruise ship!!!" that we'll be going on, and we are all looking forward to making fun memories with him in the carribbean. After that none of us know what will happen.

I am a planner and I always feel like I need to have a plan. At the moment, the plan is to wait and see what our taxes look like, get our roof repaired, perhaps set some money aside for any other emergencies that may creep up (all of our appliances like our heat pump are as old as the house and we're on borrowed time!), and then see where that takes us. I will be doing my urine test for my urologist so we can discuss whether it would be safe for me to go off of my medication and try IVF again, and if so, I'll be making an appointment to see Dr. M. If not, we'll just keep living life as best we can, taking things as they come along.

My prayer for the new year is for my family and friends to be healthy, happy and loved. I could say that I pray for another child, but so does everyone else with IF. Sure, I want another child, but I also want to do what's best for my family as it is now. I want to not take my family for granted, and to make many fun memories for our son. I also pray for more of my sweet boy to show through than the devilish one that has taken over his little body for the last week or so!!! Ha, in all seriousness, I pray we figure out how to better manage the normal 3 year old moodiness.

God bless, and I wish you all a happy and safe new year!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

December ICLW

Happy ICLW to others in the blog world who are stopping by. I did a nice little intro to us last month which you can see here.

Not much has gone on in this past month. No decisions have been made, although we did receive our paperwork (which we did not request-I feel bad for others who received it and all it did for sure served as a bitter reminder of IF) for the fertility clinic our fertility doc is now joining. We would have requested it eventually if my urologist decided it wouldn't be too risky for us to try it again, but I guess we were saved the trouble of calling to request it.

We celebrated Jack's 3rd birthday and I did some reflective posts about that time in my life 3 years ago while we were awaiting his arrival.

I have testing to do for my urologist and endocrinologist, and then perhaps I will have more to write about, and perhaps at that time we will have made a decision on doing one last IVF cycle vs. domestic adoption or as I've been considering lately, just living life with the one child we have, and thanking God for the best blessing.

Happy December ICLW!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jack's 3rd Birthday

So I did some posts to reflect on that time 3 years ago where we were anxiously awaiting Jack's arrival on this earth. I thought it was only fitting then that I post about his birthday this year.

Friday was his birthday, and when I called him at my mom's house that morning, he made me burst out with laughter. He had spent the night with her as he does when both Archie and I are working. I called to tell him "Happy Birthday" and usually when I call to talk to him, he answers "Hi Mommy". So, I was fully expecting that little voice to say the norm to me, but when he answered he said, "It's my birthday party!!!!". I couldn't help but laugh. That little boy is always surprising me. I told him that the next day was his party, but that it was definitely his birthday! He got to open one present from my mom before they rode into work, it was a blue flashlight. His best friend has a blue flashlight, and Jack kept telling us that he "needed" a blue flashlight. He was rather pleased. We had a pretty quiet day at home, and in the evening had my mom, and my mother-in-law over for cake and ice cream. Then we got into the car and went to Symphony of Lights where it is larger than life light displays that you drive by and through. Jack really seemed to enjoy that as well.

Saturday morning my mom picked up Jack and took him to a Christmas festival of sorts. They had crafts for the kids to do, as well as gifts for them to buy for their parents. My mom brought home a gingerbread house that they made, many other little crafts, and two gifts that Jack went in and picked out himself with the help of the teachers at the school where it was held. Then we went to pick up his birthday cake (Lightning McQueen as requested), and went to his pool party. Archie was sick and didn't want to get in the pool with Jack, and I needed to set up the party room, but my father-in-law took Jack into the pool with his friends. They all had a good time. All of his friends wanted to help him open his gifts (and play with them no less), and he didn't seem to get too upset about that which was good. Needless to say, but when we got home, I had to unpack all of the toys he got at his party so he could check out and play with each and every one of them.

I will leave you with some pictures.

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11, 2006-3 years ago

I was still at work, minding my own business, reading a book. My next OB appointment was to be on the morning of the 12th. I felt like I was a little wet, so I went to the bathroom to see what was going on. It was just a quarter size spot on my panties, but it was clear. I thought perhaps my water was leaking, and I wasn't sure how they checked to see if in fact that was the case. I heard all the time about how the docs will check only to say that it wasn't amniotic fluid when in fact it was. How could one be sure? So I called upstairs to our Labor and Delivery unit to ask. I asked if it was something that could be checked with nitrate paper (pH paper), or how exactly they determined if the fluid was amniotic fluid. Come to find out, it requires a full speculum exam. I told them nevermind, and decided that I wasn't going home unless my water flat out broke so that it was obvious, and that I was going to call my OB when the office opened to see if I could have my appointment moved up a day.

At 6:30am, I had a tiny bit more fluid in my panties, otherwise, nothing else to write home about. I got off of work at 7:30, and called Archie to tell him that I was going to call Dr. A's office when they opened to see about rescheduling my appointment and being seen today instead. He told me that he'd never be done at work if I kept calling him...Fine. I went home, took out the dog, and decided I would finish packing that hospital bag. I had put this off because I figured if it was packed, I would be the one to deliver late, and I was ready to meet my baby. So I got some laundry from the table and started up the stairs. I made it up 4 stairs before I had a lot of fluid rushing down my leg. It took me a split second to realize that my bladder hadn't been capable of holding that much urine in months, and decided that my water had broken.

I called Archie, said I was sorry, but that my water had just broken for real. All I heard on the other end was a click, and when I looked down at the phone, I realized he'd hung up on me. I hoped he heard me. Next, I called Dr. A and much to my dismay found out that she was now post call, she'd gotten off at 8am, so she would not be delivering my baby! I was so upset, but her partner would be delivering me and that was fine. She told me I had time to take a shower and wait for Archie to get home since I was only 1cm last week. I expected Archie to be home in about 40 minutes, but he was there in 20. Evidently he'd completely lost it and was running around mumbling things about water breaking incoherently as he rushed out of work to head home. I took a shower and it was really quite uneventful, no real contractions to write home about. We took the dog out again and then headed to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital I was having really bad back pain. It was rather consistent in how often I felt it which made me think it was back labor. But then I didn't think it was because the contractions were about 3 minutes apart. By the time we got to the hospital and got checked in, it was 10:30am and my contractions were coming every minute and a half. So, one would think I'd be really dilated right? Nope, 2cm. I was not impressed. By noon I was begging for my epidural. The back labor was the pits, and I was not the nicest person to my poor husband who also lacked sleep and was at a loss for how to help me. They warned me that I could have the epidural (still at only 2cm), but that it might slow my labor. I informed them that I did not care, I just didn't like feeling so mean, and being in so much pain. I got my epidural, and it worked beautifully so long as I made sure to turn on my sides every so often so it worked on both sides instead of just one. And sure enough, my labor slowed, so I bought myself a pitocin drip.

In the meantime, my mother called me every hour it seemed to see how things were going, should she leave now to come to the hospital, how was I doing...she loves me, and she was so excited to meet her grandson. She also had her office's holiday lunch that day. They had just finished placing their yummy orders when I told her that my nurse had said she could probably leave now to head to the hospital. I think I was only about 5cm dilated at that point, but they said it started to move more quickly from there on out. The plan was not for anyone to be in the room with us when Jack arrived except for the necessary doctor and nurse. My mom came, as well as my mother-in-law and father-in-law while we were in labor. My father-in-law stayed in the waiting room, hoping for news, since he was sick with the flu. My mother-in-law and mom tried to comfort me. I had the most horrendous charlie horse from my left hip to my left knee, and no matter how much I begged for more drugs, they said that they wouldn't work. They thought that Jack was pressing on a nerve, and until he was delivered, it wouldn't get better. I thought I could kill someone, seriously. I remember my mother-in-law raking her heel of her hand up and down my leg trying to give me some relief. Nothing. Misery.

I remember Dr. M coming into the room and telling me that if Jack wasn't born by 6pm, Dr. H would be delivering me. I asked who in the world that was (I had chosen my OB's office based on the fact that there were only two physicians and I thought that meant I had a guarantee one of them would deliver me), and she told me it was her sister-in-law, that she was very good. That didn't matter to me. At 5:30pm I was 10cm dilated. I asked if I could labor down for a bit (I didn't want to have to push forever). At 6:20pm, my mom and mother-in-law went into the waiting room, Dr. H was running late, and Dr. M garbed up to help us bring our little boy into the world. I remember she put a mirror so I could see how I was pushing, and I remember freaking out telling her, my nurse and Archie that I couldn't do this, I had changed my mind. I insisted that I wanted to go home. I was exhausted, and quite frankly, totally scared that I would watch myself tear from one end to the other with that stupid mirror there. I closed my eyes and pushed like they told me to. In 35 minutes, at 6:55pm, Dr. M told me to stop pushing, Jack was here, but had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, and it was a short cord. Archie wouldn't be able to cut it as it was too close to the birth canal. He also had some meconium (this happens when the baby gets stressed in utero and stools) at the end. They called the NICU team to check him out and make sure he was ok. He was.

His puffy little face was so bruised because he'd come out the wrong way, unable to turn due to the cord around his neck. He looked like most newborns, with their puffy, splotchy bodies for the first few hours. I shook so bad from the hormone shift. He was beautiful though in that puffy sort of way, well, sort of. I was exhausted. Our moms came in and held him, began to bond with him. I felt so bad for my father-in-law who wouldn't meet his grandson until the following week when he was no longer sick, but who had nonetheless, held vigil in the waiting room during my labor and delivery. I remember rather little of the rest of that first night. The next day we checked him over, thought about who he looked like (dead ringer for my husband). We thought he definitely had Archie's Asian appearance, his nose, and definitely my lips. He was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen, and that is saying alot considering babies are my job. I am a bit biased however.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 10, 2006-3 years ago

My contractions continued to get closer together. At 4:30AM my charge nurse sent me home, my contractions were 7 minutes apart. I went home and laid down on the couch with Archie and he was timing my contractions. Imagine my sincere disappointment when those contractions started to get irregular and spread out as far apart as 12 minutes again. I was not a happy camper for sure.

I was due to go back into work that night, and figuring that it could still be a few days before Jack arrived, I went back. I was having irregular contractions at that point. My coworkers were rather surprised when I showed up at 7pm ready to work. Nothing else happens that day. I bide my time, waiting for my appointment on Tuesday with my OB to see if I've made any more progress. The previous week I was only dilated 1cm.

More to come later!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 2006-3 years ago

On December 9, 2006 I was scheduled to work. I have worked nights since before Archie and I got married because he worked nights, and being on the same schedule just worked better for us. So, I was to work the nightshift for both Saturday and Sunday. I didn't have enough time as it was to take a full 12 weeks with pay (pay being short term disability supplemented with the vacation and sick time I'd worked to accrue over the years), so the plan was to work until I went into labor.

I woke up at 2:30pm with contractions. They were 20 minutes apart, and I figured running around chasing beeps from monitors and taking care of other people's babies would push things along. So I went into work Saturday night. By midnight I was about 12 minutes apart. I still wasn't going home. I figured when they got to be close together, then I'd go home. I'm pretty stubborn. I was a little uncomfortable, but not anything horrendous, just noticeable contractions that bothered me more than my normal Braxton-Hicks I'd been having since 19 weeks. At this point, I was 37 weeks and 4 days into my pregnancy.

Nothing else happened on Saturday, so you'll have to tune into tomorrow's post to see what happens next...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 8th, 3 years ago

This time 3 years ago, Archie and I went with some friends from the NICU where I work, to the Reproductive Services/OBGYN Holiday party hosted by one of the high-risk OB's at a local hotel. We had a great time, saw our fertility doctor (of course, I had to make a comment about thanks for getting me pregnant, now can you tell me how to get him out?), and did some dancing. As a matter of fact, one of my other coworkers was pregnant as well, about 35 weeks along, and we were both dancing to Cha-Cha Slide, Booty Call, etc., trying to throw ourselves into labor. We both were having contractions and for her sake at least, decided to sit our butts down for a bit. I don't recall our NICU team getting an invitation to the party the last two years, perhaps because we threatened to make them work when they were supposed to be having fun? This year they've invited us, but thankfully, I have a little boy's Christmas program to attend the night of the party this year. :)

I did not go into labor this night 3 years ago, but I most certainly was trying to bring it on. I'd spent the earlier part of that week walking around with my girlfriend's 11 pound baby on top of my belly in an attempt to push Jack out. I walked around with her there for 3 hours, around the mall, just hoping things would happen soon, picturing myself holding my own baby soon enough. No go. They really do come on their own time.

I'll have more posts in the next few days while I reflect back on this time 3 years ago.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

That Christmas-y Time of Year

We had our first snow of the season yesterday. I love snow, and I love winter. I particularly love Christmastime. I love the songs, the food, the decorations, and the story of Jesus' birth.

I got up early for work, and took Jack outside to play in the snow with his friend across the street. The snow was perfect for snowballs (really hard ones at that when you packed them into tight balls), and thus perfect for a snowman. We had about 3 inches, so we were leaving patches of open grass/mud as we gathered our snow for our creation. As I'm making the bottom part of the snowman, Jack says to me, "Mommy, how about we make um, Rudolph the reindeer?" You see, the other night I recorded the 1964 version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It is an hour long, and Jack has requested to watch "the reindeer movie" at least 5 times everyday since it aired. I told him we didn't have enough snow to make Rudolph this time in an effort to bail myself out so I could get ready for work.

One unofficial tradition we have is to watch the normal Christmas movies. Not just the typical Christmas Story (don't get me wrong, I love it), but even as an adult, I've made a point to watch the animated ones we grew up watching. I've seen previews for a new program coming out this Tuesday on ABC called Prep & Landing by Disney. It is about an elite unit of elves that prep for Santa's landing. It just looks cute and funny, and I think Jack will like it. You can check out the trailer for it here. I'll be recording that as well as the usual holiday favorites like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and The Polar Express. Hopefully that will give Jack more of a variety to watch.

I can't wait until he is old enough to go and sit through The Nutcracker with me. I remember my mom taking me and my sister to see it at Goucher College when we were younger. I debated taking Jack this year, but I'm not sure it would hold his interest long enough for him to sit through it. My mom and I are going to take him either this weekend or next to see A Christmas Carol. I'm also not sure if he'll get that or even really be interested, but my mom thinks he will.

The next few weeks will prove to be busy with things like Jack and his preschool class having a Christmas program at school where they will sing, family parties, wrapping gifts, figuring out what the menu will be for Christmas dinner, and hopefully somewhere in there, we will make time to light a fire, and all snuggle together to watch some of the Christmas classics on TV. With any luck, maybe we'll have a white Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We Have Decorated-sort of!!

We went on Saturday to a new Christmas tree farm (not new to everyone, just to us), and picked out our Christmas tree, and I decided I was going to attempt to tackle garland this year, real garland... Well, I've zip tied it in strategic places to get it to droop without sprigs of whatever those brances are, sticking out everywhere. It's up, and I have to say it looks pretty good. It swoops down our railing coming downstairs. Our beautiful Fraser Fir (Gawd they are expensive!) is up, lights on, and decorated with ornaments. My little collection of Santas are going across the mantle, and our stockings are hung at the fireplace.

There are quite a few less ornaments on the tree this year. Last year I came home quite a few times to either find broken ornaments, compliments of Chance, or some of the more special ones (can someone say one of Jack's footprint from 2008) chewed up. Yeah, I wasn't very impressed. So, this year, special ones are strategically placed up high, and breakables put far back on the branch. So far, no casualties, but there are about 3-4 more weeks of this tree being up, so...

My intentions were to put up the outside lights on our two little trees that flank either side of our porch, and to hang garland around the door with bows, but that has yet to be done. It is on my list though. Maybe Friday morning.

I love the Christmas season. I loved it always, I love the music, I love the nativities, I love hearing the story of Jesus's birth at church. I just love Christmastime. Then almost 4 years ago, we found out that we were pregnant, and our baby would be due the day after Christmas. I was very psyched for Christmas that year. The running joke was that with my luck, I'd spend Christmas in labor, I said, "bring it on!!!". He ended up arriving in this world exactly two weeks before Christmas. That was my best Christmas yet.

I could write about what led up to his birth, how hard I worked to get him out (37 weeks of nausea and vomiting, you'd be trying hard too!), etc., but that sweet boys birthday is in 9 days, so I'll save it for then.

Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What Are You Thankful for This Thanksgiving?

I am thankful for my family and friends. I know, same old, same old. But seriously, who are my biggest supporters and cheerleaders? How would I have survived after our last IVF cycle, and who would have helped us and encouraged us to fundraise for our adoption?

My mom is one of my best friends. Sometimes I think I tell her too much, sometimes I wish I could tell her more. I'm always afraid to disappoint, or hurt her, but I also know that she loves me so much and just wants what is best for me. She always watches our little boy when we ask, and that means we don't have to worry about how he's being cared for. We know that she makes sure he gets everything he needs, and he loves her to death. What more could we ask for? Thanks Mom!

My husband while he may irk me some days more than others, is my confidante, my pillow, my kleenex (you know how wet their shoulders can get if you're crying hard enough), my best friend, my everything. This man puts up with so much (although he'd say the same about me, LOL), loves me, and loves our son so much. He is the best father I could have chosen for our son and any future children we may have. He has his faults, don't get me wrong, but we all do. He has never once waivered in his husband or father roles, he is someone I can count on when it matters. I love you babe, thank you for all that you do.

My friends and extended family are awesome. My cousin and aunt, both of whom have had more than enough to deal with this year, have come out to help us with both big events we had to raise money for our adoption, and didn't think twice. They said they wouldn't miss it. How's that for selflessness? My friends who have been my sounding boards, shoulders to lean on when I thought I couldn't go one step farther, my volunteers to watch Jack while we did our last IVF cycle. The ones who listened to me and were polite enough not to roll their eyes when I had to obsess over whatever, once again. Thanks guys!

My sweet boy. He is the reason I get out of bed some mornings. He is my best little friend. Always inviting me to play with him, and always wanting to keep a smile on my face. He cares so much about those around him, even animals and pets, and just wants everyone to be happy. Thank you for being so adorable, so sweet, so affectionate. You are everything and more than we ever imagined and could have dreamed of.

God. He put these people in my life. He answered our prayers for a healthy child. He answers our prayers, perhaps not how we had hoped, and perhaps not as quickly as we would hope, but when we look back at how things have happened, they did for a reason. Thank you God for every one of my friends and family members. Thank you for listening when I have things I don't know how to deal with, or don't feel like I can tell anyone else. Thank you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holy Adoption!

So I was perusing one of the other blogs I follow-The Mommy Journals, and I have to say that I began reading her blog, and I didn't agree with her on all of her stances. For instance, she is very much pro-life. I'm not really sure what I am. I could never myself have an abortion, and for the most part, I don't think you should do it except in extreme circumstances (rape, etc.), so where that is concerned, I am pro-life. But, that said, working where I do, and seeing what I see, there are so many children that we send home with questionable parents. And that is putting it nicely. I hate to be judgemental, but there are some parents who just shouldn't be allowed to take children home, particularly without the homestudy and follow up required with adoptions at the very least. I say this because I see children sent home to places where a mother is an addict, and doesn't have custody of her other 7 children, but yet, her child can go home to the grandmother, raising the other 7 children, and allowing her daughter, the child's mother to continue living with her while she uses, and thus, still exposing her children to that. Our child welfare system is so badly taxed. In our state, parents have endless opportunities to keep messing up, abusing the system, putting their children in bad situations, and yet, our foster care system keeps sending them back home. Why, because they believe it's better for the kids to be with their biological families. At what cost? I'm not saying that these people should get abortions. I'm just saying that perhaps it should be an option for people who don't have many other choices. And I guess in that manner, I am a bit pro-choice. It's funny because before I worked in an inner city hospital, I was so pro-life, and it had nothing to do with religion. It was simply something that I believed in.

Anyway, I decided to take a look at an article she had come across, that she mentioned in her post, and was appalled by. She said it was disturbing, particularly for parents who have relinquished a child for adoption. Well, let me tell you, I've never relinquished a child, but I felt absolutely sick to my stomach and in tears after reading the article.

First, the article is about crisis pregnancy centers (CPC's), and what the women who visit some of these centers end up facing throughout their pregnancy. It's a good article to read, a good one to open up some eyes, shed some light for those who have never been there. I have posted previously about ethics in adoption, the need for adoption reform, and how first parents are sometimes treated. This article says it all, no joke. I should note that I'm not saying all CPC's are bad. I think that there is some good to them, such as providing pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, etc. I think that the fact that they make adoption info available to pregnant women is a good thing, but I also think that information on parenting, resources available for women living in poverty, or struggling to get by is extremely important so that women can make decisions that are good for them and their child.

Some of you may recall that in a previous post I discussed why we had not chosen Bethany Christian Services for the adoption we were planning. This article talks about BCS quite a bit, and let me tell you that I am so glad we decided not to go with them. I am glad that we trusted our gut instinct. It would kill me to hear that our child's first parent went through what these women have. The pressure from the CPC's, the homes made available for these women to live to be cared for while they continue their pregnancy, where the people they live with may very well make them feel like dirt for having trouble relinquishing their child is astonishing to me. Where the women are cut off from the rest of the world socially, and where they may tell you that you could never provide for that child like another family could. It made me cry just to read this article. I understand people are very much pro-life, but what about being understanding, and remembering that while they are choosing life for their child, that they may want to parent that child themselves. It's like brainwashing. I just think it's horrible. There has to be a better way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy November ICLW!!!

Well, I'll post this a few hours early because I'm bored at work at the moment and have nothing else better to do...

Some of you may have come across my blog previously. You'll know that there have been some changes if you were here last month. For those of you not up on who I am, I'll tell you.

My husband is 33, and I am 29. We had our first son after our first IVF/ICSI cycle for MFI (male factor infertility), endometriosis, and one patent tube. We are very blessed. After an unsuccessful attempt earlier this year which went horribly wrong (see this backpost), we began to consider domestic adoption. We had a fundraiser in June, and another in September using the money raised in June's fundraiser. It was a disaster financially and we lost just about everything we'd invested (see this post). We are still up in the air about adoption vs. another IVF cycle. We did get some news which changes things somewhat financially (see these posts here and here). This means that another IVF cycle for us may be $15,000 cheaper than adoption at this point, and to be honest, if it didn't work, we'd be done. We'd agree to be blessed for what God has given us thus far, the beautiful child we have who is almost 3 years old, and more than we ever dreamed he would be. So it's still a huge decision, there are multiple physicians to consult, and then a big decision to make. We continue to struggle with this.

What we do know is that we are lucky to have a child at all, would be doubly blessed to have another, and neither of our options will be easy. I'd love to have more followers, and everytime I do ICLW, I find at least a few more blogs to follow. Please feel free to join us on our journey.

Happy ICLW!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Joy In My Life

I worked Friday night, Saturday night, and again tonight I am working. This morning Jack's preschool class was going to be singing at their school's church. About 7 of them came to sing. I thought Jack might be a little shy, and I didn't think he'd sing at all, because everytime I tried to get him to sing to me at home, he just told me he wanted me to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with him. I told him that I didn't think that was on the agenda for church, but he insisted it was, and hey, he likes to sing it with me, so I humored him. This morning, he got up, not at all shy, and walked with his friends to the altar. They sang 3 songs. Jack sort of sang. He did the body motions for the songs, as well as making some funny faces with his fingers in the corners of his mouth, some funny hand gestures, and the last song, he either really liked the word "here" at the end of the lines, or was just off, but you could hear him plain as day as everyone moved on to the next verse. I caught myself giggling a few times and looking down as I continued to record what I had originally thought would be a disaster with a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds trying to stand in front of people and sing. None of these kids seemed to have the nervousness that some of us adults do. I think that's great! I was so proud of him for getting up there and doing it, and I was proud of all of his friends too. I truly look forward to seeing their Christmas program on December 18th, and can't wait to see if Jack will play an animal at the manger scene, or one of the main people who were there the night that Jesus was born. So I've got it uploaded on my computer, but I can't figure out how to password protect this post or that part of it, and it has other kids from his class in it. For that reason, if you would like to see the video, please email or contact me, and I'd be happy to email it to you. It's about 3 minutes long, but it's an adorable video if you want to watch it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Trip to See My Grandmother

I know, I'm a slacker. Obviously I can't hack this posting everyday bit.

My mom and I drove up to visit my grandmother. She seemed very talkative today (whereas last visit we couldn't get 5 words out of her), seemed upbeat, and seemed to recognize us, well, at least my mom. I wasn't convinced that she recognized me, but that's ok. She seemed more clear than our last visit, and for that I was grateful. She seemed emotional when we left, we had told her that due to the weather up north during the winter, we probably wouldn't be back until closer to Spring. I'm not sure if that is what she was emotional about, or that she'd seen my mom who she hasn't seen in a long time, or what it really was. I feel really bad and wish I could find time to go up over the winter, but even if I did, I'd be afraid to leave Jack behind. Afraid that I might get into an accident because of the weather, that something might happen back home and if I got stranded up there and couldn't get mind wanders, and of course, never to good things. My biggest fear is something happening to him, my second biggest is something happening to me and Archie and us not being there for him. If something happened to my grandmother and she needed us there, we'd be there, no question, but just to go up and visit for an hour or so before she gets tired I'm having some trouble seeing.

Our trip wasn't too bad, not much traffic (until we got back into MD), about a total of 9.5 hours on the road. My mom and I talked a lot, and didn't really argue, so I'm happy about that.

All in all, it was a good visit. And I'm glad I got some time with my mom too.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Updated Previous Post

My post for today is that I updated my post entitled A Visit With Time with the pictures I promised almost a month ago. I just got them emailed to me, so I've posted them.

Speaking of the post where I talk about my grandmother, my mom and I are taking a day trip up tomorrow to see her. So, my post tomorrow will probably be about something relating to that trip. Wish me luck, my mom and I are VERY close, but also very much alike and can get on each others nerves sometimes. We just know which buttons to push. And we'll be in the car with each other for the better part of the day (like 11ish hours), so it could get hairy! I'm hoping for a pleasant trip and some bonding time though because with my crazy schedule we don't get to spend as much alone time together as I'd like.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaBloPoMo and IComLeavWe

Ah, do any of you not familiar with the title of this post want to know what in the world it is? NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Post Month and the goal is to post at least once a day. IComLeavWe is something I've participated in since September and it runs for a week (21st-28th of the month), and the goal is to read and comment on 5 other blogs that are participating, and do one response to a comment you got.

They are combining the two this month. This is going to be a real challenge for me since I've only been posting when I have something to say. I have to write everyday this month (starting today for me, LOL) about whatever since there isn't a theme at the moment.

Today I want to write about something that makes me happy, and has nothing to do with my Jack. I want to tell you that my cousin and her husband are pregnant, and the best news is that the baby at yesterday's 20 week ultrasound looked healthy! You're probably thinking, ok...why are you so happy, it's not you...I'm so happy because after two pregnancies, they are, hopefully since we are all praying for them, going to be bringing home a beautiful baby girl in March. You see, my cousin and her husband have had one miscarriage, and one pregnancy where their sweet son Isaac was born with a major abdominal wall defect, and due to that defect's impact on his lungs, he lived 16 minutes before going home to God. That was a year ago this October. It's been a long few years for them, but they've been so strong, so brave, and so faithful, and now things are going well. I love them, I love my son, and I know that they love Isaac and this sweet little girl growing inside. And so I am very happy for them.

Stacy has a blog as well-He Will Carry Me. She's very open and it's a great blog for those who are struggling with the loss of a child. She blogs about her good days and bad, how she has handled life since, and how she has begun to find a new "norm".

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Fertility Clinic Update

I called and spoke with another person at the location closest to us regarding fees and what we should expect. Without going into a million details, we are responsible for the difference between what the insurance allows, and what they pay, so we should not have more than probably $5,000 to pay out of pocket if we do another IVF cycle with them after the merger.

So, I would need to make an appointment to see our RE, find out what procedures I might need done prior to the cycle (such as a sono-hysterosalpinogram, bloodwork, etc.). I guess we'll make that appointment soon as there is a possibility that we could do a cycle as early as March, but that would only be once we get our roof replaced, and I'm not sure we will be able to do it that quick. I also would have to have my other physician's approvals, and I'm not there yet either. I think my urologist is going to be the biggest hurdle given the medications I am on.

It is all alot to think about, but somewhat exciting and somewhat scary. I am trying to ignore the what-if's that are negative, and just focus on the roof getting replaced and then the doctor's appointments/discussions.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Some Possibly Exciting Developments!

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately. With us not actively fundraising at this point, and having not made any concrete decisions, there just hasn't been much for me to say. HOWEVER, I got a letter last week from our RE (reproductive endocrinologist-or more simply put-our fertility specialist). It basically said that they are merging with another fertility clinic. This new clinic is very well known in our geographic area for their shared risk IVF program. That program isn't really on our radar, but I will tell you about it just for kicks anyway. Basically, you pay $20,000 and you have 6 IVF cycles (usually 3 fresh cycles where you go through all of the injections, egg retrieval, and embryo transfers, and 3 frozen embryo transfers where I'm sure there are some drugs involved in prepping you for the transfers, but having never made it to have embryos worth transferring, I'm not quite sure what that would involve.)

That said, the letter we received stated that our RE and his nurse will be seeing patients for routine things like consults, ultrasounds, and lab work at our hospital (my insurance had stated that this was the only location we could have our IVF procedures done), but that actual procedures would be done at another hospital affiliated with this other fertility clinic as of December 15th, 2009. This got me wondering if this would mean an increase in fees or perhaps a decrease for those patients paying out of pocket. I was also wondering whether our insurance company was going to put any stipulations on our infertility benefits now that the procedures would not be occuring at our hospital. So I called the billing lady at our hospital. She explained that as far as the fees, they may actually be decreased since the other fertility clinic has a dedicated area for the IVF procedures whereas we were facing a $3,000 bill at our hospital because the area that they used is part of the L&D area-their recovery area, and their operating room. This is great news! She didn't know what we were looking at exactly as far as fees, and gave me the number of a billing person at the new center to call. She also advised me to call our HR rep to find out if the insurance was going to have any stipulations we needed to be aware of should we choose to go this route.

I called her contact at the new fertility center, and he told me that he was actually in charge of billing for freezing and storage of embryos, so he couldn't tell me exactly what we were facing with fees, but that when we met with our RE (at any of 12 locations-nevermind the logistics of him seeing patients at so many places), he would then refer us to the billing people. One person would call and figure out our benefits regarding our insurance and then we'd be assigned a financial coordinator who we would work with throughout our cycle. He said a good estimate of what to save would be about $5,000 since our insurance is going to pay a little over $5,000 as well, and with the insurance paying part of it, there would be an allowed amount that they would pay, and then adjustments and credits which would lower the amount we would be responsible for out of our pockets. $5,000 is a bit more manageable than $10,000.

Then I called my HR rep to confirm that the insurance was on board with all of this. She asked me how I knew about the merger, and I told her about the letter. She wasn't aware that anything was definite. I told her there was a date as to when these changes were taking place. She requested a copy of the letter...whoops! Hope I didn't get my RE in trouble, but you would think the left hand would talk to the right. The HR rep said that nothing had been released formally to the employees yet, and perhaps it hasn't been released yet to all of the employees, but I can tell you that my coworkers who see the same RE got the same letter I did.

Obviously, we're not moving forward with any cycles until we've spoken with the correct billing people in addition to all of my physicians. But with our tax refund next year, we may be able to do a cycle earlier in the year than we thought if everything lines up right. All of the money is due up front prior to the start of our cycle, and if there is any money left over at the end from what we paid, we would be issued a refund. I just hope it's only $5,000 or so that we have to come up with because then it might not be another year before we can do something! And yes, I am saying that if our docs are in agreement, our RE has the right plan (which is basically to go back to the protocol we used for our IVF cycle in 2006), and the cost is right, we'll be doing another cycle. If it's unsuccessful, I'm sure we'll be upset, but we will also consider our family complete, and be blessed for what we've been given. It will be our last attempt at expanding our family (as would adoption if we went that route) which makes me feel panicked just thinking about it. I will continue to look at the good things that can happen and just push those negative thoughts to the back of my mind.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable #8

So I debated participating in the Open Adoption Roundtable #8 since I haven't participated in the last one or two. They are lead by Heather at Production, Not Reproduction. We're not sure that we'll continue down the adoption path at this point, but I figured that since it's not totally out of the realm of possibility, I'd participate this week. If you're interested in reading more of the responses by other bloggers, you can click here.

The topic of this week's discussion: Write about a blogger (or bloggers) who influenced your real-life open adoption, and how.

I have many to mention, some I'm sure I looked at when we first began exploring adoption, and haven't looked at since, simply because I wasn't blogging at the time, and most of the time I checked out the blogs when I was at work and couldn't bookmark the sites. I will discuss the ones that I read and follow at this point.

Puzzle Pieces: Adoption is written by Ginger, a mom who parents one child, and is the first mom of 3 others. One of the things I tend to think about most when it comes to our open adoption is what I want for my child as they grow up. I want them to be able to have a relationship with their first family. So, that naturally leads me to obsess over what that relationship might look like, how I would like it to be, and what the realities are for others. Ginger's often examines and discusses things pertaining to her very different open adoptions with each of her children. None are the same, all are different degrees of openness and thus different types of relationships with the adoptive families. I appreciate her blog most for discussing her feelings as honestly as she can, it has helped me see things from another perspective and hopefully will carry on to any relationship we have with a first mom. We'll never be in their position, but to be able to hear how they feel, and what they are thinking will help us be more sensitive to the needs of our child's first mom.

Production, Not Reproduction is written by Heather. She has two children through adoption, and blogs about parenting adopted children, and transracial adoption, among other things. Her honest posts about daily life with adopted children, including their feelings and situations, and how they handle them give me true perspective into our potential future. I enjoy reading her posts and getting to know her family through them. She has written many posts where I just sit back and reflect on what we may come to experience, and how we might handle it.

life from here: musings from the edge written by Luna, a new adoptive parent. I've been following her since before her daughter was placed with her, and it's been nice to follow along, see how her relationship with the first family has developed and blossomed since her daughter was born. She has successfully navigated some awkward positions and describes that in her posts, and it gives me ideas for visits we may have with our child's first family someday.

I am participating in IComLeavWe where your goal is to explore other blogs, leave comments, and network with each other. Many of the people are just like us, adopting, or infertile. I hope to find more blogs that I enjoy reading by participating.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Visit With Time

I went and visited my grandmother this past weekend. She lives in Connecticut. This was a very hard visit for many reasons. Perhaps I should give a brief background of our relationship. My grandparents lived out in Colorado when we were growing up. We flew out and visited them a few times, they would come to visit us others, and I remember one time when we drove down to Disney. I remember that my grandfather didn't like to drive after dark, so we had to stay at a hotel in Georgia overnight, and I thought it would kill me to have to wait OVERNIGHT to see Mickey and Disney world. My grandfather passed away from lung cancer when I was 13, that was 16 years ago.

My sister and I were talking as we drove yesterday. We were talking about things we remember. I will never forget how he sang some song (it went something like-Skinny marinky dinky dink, skinna marinky doo, I love you...), it always made us smile and I still can see him singing it and doing these little arm motions to it. I remember how we spoke with my grandparents every week on the phone, and they would send us newspaper articles to read and these little newspaper activities to work on. I remember loving when my grandparents would teach us the capitals of the states and then quiz us. I remember the smell of my grandfather's cigars. I couldn't tell you the brand, but I swear I will never forget the smell of his cigars.

I remember visiting him out in Colorado after he was discharged home from the hospital. I remember my mom warning us that he might not recognize us, and knowing how emotional I got anytime we talked about death, she told me that if I needed to cry, to leave the room, don't do it in front of him (not to be mean, just so that we didn't upset him or my grandmother). I think we were there less than a week, we left on a Thursday, and that Friday morning my grandmother called to say that he had passed. We all felt like he waited for us to leave. When we had visited he didn't recognize us, and it was like pulling teeth to get him to even take a bite of food from my grandmother. Even at 13 I knew that it was the last visit I would have with him alive.

There were some issues surrounding my wedding, some of which I still don't totally understand, but this caused issues between my father, my grandmother, my mom, and I. I continued to have a relationship with my grandmother, but it wasn't the same as it had been prior to these issues. I believe this was because she felt torn about our fallout, and didn't want to take sides. She and I continued to talk by phone, but Arch and I got married in early 2005, the issues began July of 2004, and the next time I would see her in person was March of 2007 for our son's baptism. That was the first time I'd seen her since before our wedding. We then went to visit her in June of 2007, and hadn't seen her since. It wasn't that we didn't want to see her, it was just because of busy schedules, trying to plan travel, etc. She fell last winter, and after that told me that she just hadn't been going outside much. When I asked how she was getting groceries, etc., she said that she had friends and neighbors taking care of that for her. The last time I talked to her in May, before Mother's Day, something was not right. My father and I had only sent an ecard back and forth, and other than that, not had much to say to each other since our falling out. There had been an attempt at "calling a truce", but we disagreed on what type of relationship we would have as a result of the truce, and so it never happened. But in May, I had to call him. I had to ask if he'd talked to his mother recently, and noticed anything out of the norm.

I called him and he said he had spoken with her a few weeks prior. I expressed my concern, but he told me that their family up there (yes they are my relatives I guess as well, but I haven't ever known them well, my father was a single child and these are his cousins, aunts, and uncles) had a good relationship with her and that they would call him if anything was wrong. I continued to try to call her, sent her letters and pictures, and never had my messages returned or phone calls answered. It didn't make any sense. My father hadn't been able to get in touch with her either. So last Friday he called and told me that he'd received a letter from an attorney, and that she had had a stroke back in May, not long after I'd spoken with her, had been hospitalized and now was in a nursing home. Her niece was taking care of everything, and of all things is a nurse. Who better?!?! We had all spoken with her last week and knew that as a result of the stroke, she is experiencing ischemic dementia, as well as many other comorbidities, many of which just are more common as you age. She told us that our grandmother isn't eating much, it just takes forever to eat even a small amount. She is in a wheelchair, but is ambulatory with assistance.

My sister was coming up this past weekend to surprise my mom for her birthday. We were planning on making a nice dinner for her at our house, and spending time with her Saturday evening, and then the plan was to go to the renaissance festival on Sunday morning. After talking to my sister, we decided Renfest would have to wait for another time, and we would leave on Sunday morning to go visit our grandmother. My father went to visit her on Saturday. We went up on Sunday and visited with her for about an hour. We had brought a picture of my mom, sister, Arch, Jack, and myself that was taken last year, and we put it on her dresser. We also brought some other goodies like a bed jacket (she's always cold), lotion, Halloween socks that my mom thought would be fun for her, and a donut (she's got a mean sweet tooth). When our visit wrapped up, my father's cousin was looking at the picture with her and asked her if she knew who the people in the picture were as she pointed to them. She said she didn't know any of them. We were standing right there and had been visiting with her for an hour. She and Jack had spent a lot of time smiling and playing with each other. My sister and I didn't say much about it until later on. I thought that she didn't look too bad physically, but my sister thought she looked really thin and frail. We went back to our hotel, got into our pj's, and were slightly snippy with each other about the TV volume. Yeah, such a stupid thing to get snippy about. Finally when we were both awake at 1am and tossing and turning, we talked for a few minutes. We were both devastated that she didn't recognize us. I told her that I hoped that she might be more "with it" come our morning visit.

So this morning we got up, had breakfast with Jack, packed up enough train tracks to make a circular track, two trains, and set off for a walk at the harbor near where we were staying. We walked down the pier, sat and talked for a few minutes before heading to the nursing home. We went up, and looked for our grandmother. We found her sitting in a room with many of the other residents participating in their wheelchair exercises. The recreation therapist told us we could take her out to visit, but we declined and stood in the hall watching her. She had looked at us once when we first got there, didn't seem to recognize us and then looked away. About 30 seconds after that, she looked back at us, smiled, and waved at Jack. I thought to myself, "Does she recognize us, and know who we are, or does she think we're some nice visitors who came to see her yesterday, or is she just being polite by acknowledging us?" None of them are nice things to contemplate. When she finished, we got her and brought her into the visiting area. I asked her if she knew who we were. She said that she did and put her hand on our face. She always used to do that when she thought we were being silly. She never said our names, and I didn't want to push it. I'm not sure if it's more because I didn't want to know how much she remembers or not, or if it is because I didn't want to upset her or frustrate her if she in fact didn't remember who we were. We visited for a little over an hour today as she tires easily and it was time for lunch. She played quite a bit with Jack and his trains, and really seemed to enjoy that. We took some pictures, and I will try to post them later. There is one that I particularly love where Jack and our grandma are playing with the trains together and you can see how much they enjoy each other. Jack was initially very worried yesterday because of the wheelchair "Grandma Ann" was in. He's not been around people in wheelchair's before with the exception of visiting me in the hospital after our car accident back in late 2007, and he was only 10 months old then. Today he was still concerned, but when she came out of the exercise room he ran up to her for a hug and didn't even mention the chair until later when it was time to leave. There were lots of hugs and kisses shared between them, and my grandmother looked truly happy which really made me happy.

I knew something was wrong when I talked to her in May. I didn't have a way to get in touch with our extended family where she lives. I don't know that anything would have changed as far as her stroke, but perhaps we would have known before now and been able to judge if she is doing better than immediately post stroke or if she is the same or worse.

My mom and I are going back up in a few weeks for a visit, and Jack will be staying home with Arch just because it's about a 5 hour trip one way to where my grandma lives. It's going to be a one day trip, which is 10 hours on the road, and that's not fair to a little guy. I am wondering how she will be during that visit. She was a woman of few words these last two days which we've been told is her new norm.

I'm scared. I don't think she knows fully what's going on, and I think that's a blessing. She says she likes where she is. It's not like most nursing homes I've been to. It doesn't smell like urine, was very clean, and the residents all appear to be well taken care of. I just imagine that losing your mental faculties must be really hard, which is why I didn't push the issue today about whether she remembers us. If she does realize at all and it's pointed out to her it would only make her feel worse and I don't want that for her.

Jack really enjoyed his visits with her when he was an infant, you could tell that they connected, and this weekends visits they just seemed to pick up where they left off. Both of them laughing, smiling, it was good to see. I just wish she'd be around if we do have another child. I just think it's neat to see our child interacting with his great-grandparents (my mom's father is still alive as well as her step mom), neat to have multiple generations all in one place, and I have some memories of my pop-pop (my great-grandfather on my mom's side), but I want Jack to be able to make good memories with his great-grandparents, as well as any other children we may be blessed enough to have.

It's been a rough last few days or so. We're still digesting, and I find myself coming up with questions to ask my dad's cousin (she is legally in charge of my grandmother's care). I hope to be able to come back and edit this post in the next couple of days with some pictures of our visit.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Parenthood For Me

So I was checking out my fellow blogger Stephanie's post for today. I am so excited I could give this girl a huge hug for passing this info along. She posted about a national not-for-profit organization called Parenthood For Me.

Their mission is to provide financial and emotional support to those building their families through adoption or medical intervention. They will be accepting their first grant applications in January 2010. The first set of grants will be awarded in June 2010. Visit the website FAQ page to find out more details.

I think this is a wonderful and important cause given the incredible amounts required for fertility treatments and adoptions. My hope is that some of you reading this blog will be able to either: 1) help this resource by contributing to their fund, or 2) use this resource to help build your own families. Perhaps some of you fellow bloggers would also post their info to help get the word out, and the group will be successful helping many others just like us!

Their information can be found here:

and their blog here:

PFM is also holding a giveaway on their blog to boost awareness of their organization. Please participate to help out this promising organization!

We may not know yet which path God will lead us back to yet, but it will be one of these two paths. I pray that when the time comes for us to proceed, that organizations like Parenthood For Me will be able to help.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


is exactly what we're doing. I am waiting to hear from my urologist. Not necessarily about the question of trying to do IVF again and what we would do if I wanted to do that which would require me to stop whatever medication I happen to be on at that time for my cystinuria. But I will ask that question as well.

I had an appointment with him two weeks or so ago to discuss results of my latest test, and he has since been playing phone tag with "the guru". There is a guru at the lab where I my 24 hour urine test goes. There aren't really any other urologists who specialize in cystinuria because it is rare and there isn't enough of a demand/need for specialists. Which is great for people like me who have this condition because it's not widely understood how to manage or treat it. Anyway, I have other questions for him, but while I have him on the phone I will ask about the IVF stuff. He will probably think I have lost it since I am even considering it again. This is the doc who I spoke with shortly after our last cycle failed where I was damn near hysterics crying on the phone. This is the doctor who told me about his family's multiple IVF attempts and eventual adoption of their second child (they also did IVF to conceive their first), which then led us to reconsider adoption. Yeah, he's going to think I'm a fruit loop. Oh well... :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trying to Work It Out

First I want to say thank you for everyone's kind and supportive comments and emails. I am still a mess. I really can't see doing another bingo fundraiser. We'd have to do the overtime to get the money together to even have it, and it's just too much of a risk to possibly lose almost every last dime again. If yesterday's fundraiser had been successful, I might feel differently. Ok, I WOULD feel differently and already be planning the next one!

That said, I've done some thinking. If we were to just work and save up the $18,000 on our own, it would take us probably 2 years. Who knows how long after that it would take to get a placement. Needless to say, we won't be applying with Catholic Charities in January. Why apply if we won't be close to having the money needed yet. We don't want to be matched if we can't act on it. We also don't want to be adopting when Jack is 7 years old either. Which leads to my next flight of ideas...

As I was running around this morning, and trying to take a nap this afternoon, I seriously questioned what we were thinking when we made this decision. We were weighing whether or not to do another IVF cycle (which wasn't a guarantee we'd get pregnant again) and come up with the $10,000 needed to cover what our insurance would not, or come up with the $18,000 for an adoption which would eventually give us another child for sure. We wanted the sure thing. Well, let me tell you what we know for sure. God blessed us with a sweet and lovable little boy almost 3 years ago. We love him to pieces and can't imagine life without him. And then I started thinking...and realized thinking is where all of my problems start.

So I was doing some math in my head. If I had two days of overtime on every paycheck, then we would be able to raise $10K in about 8 months. IF I did one day of overtime each week, and never had a week where I just worked my normal shifts, that is how long it would take me, and that is IF I could get the shifts. It would take us probably a year if I didn't. You can figure out how long it would take for the $18K which by the time we came up with that, adoption will cost even more. As we're getting ready for dinner, I said to Archie, "So, just hypothetically speaking, what would you say if I asked you about going the less expensive route and saving up the $10K we would need to do another IVF cycle, and if it fails again, then we're done and we agree to find a place where we are ok with just having one child, and where we are ok with Jack being an only child and not having any siblings?" I asked this fully expecting to get this "are you kidding me?" type of look from him. The answer that I got was something like this, "I'm cool with that as long as Dr. M is willing to do the protocol we did when we had the successful cycle and not the one that we did this last time." I think I might have stood there dumbfounded for a minute. No argument about whether I needed my head checked? No questioning my thought process? That was easy.

So, am I saying that we're nixing the adoption idea and going back to the IVF one? Not at all. There is a lot more to consider than just what Dr. M has to say about it. I need to have a talk with my endocrinologist about my thyroid issues, and then with my urologist about my cystinuria and stopping the meds that I am on to manage it (they have a very high incidence of birth defects). None of that matters at this point because we don't have the money and our overtime at this point is replacing our roof. But it is something to discuss next year after we get back our taxes and think about making a plan again that does not include fundraising. I guess at that point we'll have to meet with my physicians and discuss if it is even advisable given some of my medical issues, and then what their recommendations would be. That may decide everything for us.

In the meantime while we are in a holding pattern, I'll continue to post here anything interesting that comes up, or thoughts I have about either of these topics. And I said I'd use this blog to post about our family as well, so I will continue to do that. I hope that my followers do continue to follow whether you're from IF-land or adoption world, as I plan to continue to follow you guys as well.

And thanks again for your support.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Don't Know What to Say

I don't know what to say. This day was so incredibly hard. It's hard when you know what the reality probably is going to be, when you know how much you have invested in something, when you know how badly you want something and how hard you're trying to work for it, and the odds are against you. I was scared to do the bingo today, but hopeful for what could be. I was scared of exactly what happened today. I was worried about how I would handle it. We used all of the money we'd made on our previous fundraisers and put toward our adoption fund. Plus some.

So, we had 30 people come to our bingo. Odds were pretty good most would win, we had 20 games including the specials, and 2 additional jackpot games. A few people even won multiple things. I think most of our players were happy. I have to say that I honestly did have a good time today. The bingo was fun to plan, fun to shop for, and for wierd people like me, fun to organize and put together. I'll talk about what wasn't fun later. I had fun seeing what people thought of the baskets my mom and I had put together, and which bags we'd selected. We bought way too much food, enough to feed a small army it seemed. But we sent food home with all of our volunteers-our family members like one of my aunts, 2 of my cousins and one of their husbands, and then my mom, myself and Archie. Arch is taking some of the food to work to share with his coworkers tonight, I'm going to take some desserts to work to share with mine tomorrow night.

Here is what wasn't fun. My mom and I told the people who helped us organize this bingo that we had never done something like this before, and that we needed to know everything possible to make it successful. We bought prizes for a cash pull-tab game that never happened because come to find out today, the prizes were not what they were supposed to be. No one explained to us how much each prize was supposed to be worth, they just told us that the bottom 5 were your smallest and that they get bigger as you get closer to being the only person left. And we were not going to sell tickets to win something that wasn't up to snuff. Nevermind the fact that there is no way we could have sold that many pull-tab tickets to the 30 people in our bingo. We would have needed at least 100 players to even begin to sell that many. The next major issue was our advertising. We posted on all kinds of basket bingo websites for MD, and quite a few of our customers were a result of that, so that was something that worked and that we would do again. We put out flyers everywhere-work, churches, other basket bingos last night..., and we put an ad in the local city's paper which they put somewhere it was never going to be seen, despite my arguing exactly that. That was money well wasted. Then when we tried to place an ad in our local town's paper, it was like pulling teeth. We manage to get the editor to do a little news bit on us for it, but didn't get any customers as a result of that. The girl who was supposed to make sure our ad was placed dropped the ball, and another girl who was supposed to list it in the calendar of events assured me two Thursday's ago she would do so, and come to find out last Wednesday-she did not. Last but not least was our Longaberger rep. I had someone I was going to use, but the ladies auxilary at the fire station where we held the bingo mentioned that they use a particular rep, and so we went with her instead. She was hard to catch up with sometimes, but she was good at taking our order, fixing it when it arrived incorrect, and gave us a 10% discount. Meanwhile the other lady I had not used was upset we didn't use her, we asked if we could use her in the spring if we had another bingo, she agreed. She also told us that she'd give us a 25% discount and some door prizes. That was already more than we'd gotten with the other lady. Then today at the bingo, there were two more reps, one who said she would give us a 25% discount, not charge us shipping or taxes on our items, and had 30 people she guaranteed to come to our bingo because they go faithtfully to all of her bingos. She also said there is no way that our baskets should have cost us what we paid.

I'll be honest. I didn't leave there feeling really disappointed. I was just going through the motions. We cleaned up quickly, and we were out of there. But then we got home, and I was unpacking the car. Oh my gosh, even after unloading a ton of pulled pork bbq, chicken salad, etc., on our family, we still had a ton of food leftover. Heck, we forgot one unopened 8lb bag of fries in the freezer at the hall, as well as an opened bag, and hot dogs in their fridge. Then it really started to irritate me, all of the obstacles that we'd encountered. My mom and I had even questioned whether it was meant to happen. The problem was that we'd spent all of this money, if we didn't have the bingo, we'd have lost the money in those baskets and bags for what reason? What if more than the 23 people who reserved their tickets in advance showed up? What if we had 100 people? Then it would be worth it. The ladies at the station asked us twice this week if we were sure we didn't want to cancel. If we cancelled after having our name all over our flyers for the bingo, and people showed up to see it was cancelled, then we had another bingo in the spring, who would want to come? Certainly not the people who had showed up only to find it cancelled. We felt like we had to take our chances and try to recoup any of our funds that we could. After settling our charges, we came away with $205. If you recall from our fundraising thermometer on our blog, we had raised $2425. That means that overall, we lost over $2000. It's really hard to swallow, trust me. My mom called this evening even more irritated over our obstacles, the lack of assistance and guidance from people who knew we were clueless, the inept people at the paper. I had been really irritated with all of it prior, and just didn't have the energy left for it this evening. I just wanted to be with the child that we do have and enjoy him. I remember thinking at one point that I regretted ever leaving him to do the bingo. There was a silver lining today though. That is these things-our family and friends and the players at our bingo were all really supportive of us; and we came home to find that my father-in-law who had been with Jack all day, had left us a grocery bag of about 7 "bottles of love" filled with coins (by my in-laws and I think some of their coworkers) and some even had cash as well. God love and bless all of these these people because we really needed the support today, and I honestly believe that it helped me get through the day.

The hardest part of today was saying nighttime prayers with Jack. I really tried hard to keep it together, and I think I did a really good job of it today. Not tonight. I laid him down and said, "Ok, ready for our prayers." to which he smiled and responded yes. I try every night to find something to thank God for, whether it be for the little boy in front of me, the fun memories we made that day, a successful fundraiser, or whatever. Jack repeats everything I say during our prayers. We started it, and as I usually do, I said, "Lord, thank you for" and I stopped because I was trying so hard not to cry in front of Jack, trying to get myself together long enough to finish our prayer and say our goodnights. I've cried more than I care for in front of him this week, and he gets upset, and I always explain that everyone gets sad sometimes. Just like he gets sad or mad sometimes and cries, so do mommies and daddies. I didn't want to have to do that again tonight. Well, there was no way I was leaving his bed without thanking God for something, so I thought, and I thanked him for bringing the people that he did to our bingo. And because of my struggling voice, of course, Jack knew that I was close to it and he was trying to find my tears in the dark. That made it even worse and darn if I wasn't crying after that. It broke my heart. He just wanted to wipe my tears and make it better.

My brain is fried after today, my emotions and thoughts are all over the place. Will we do this again? That's a great question. We've got a ton of bingo paper in my mother's basement, dabbers, and we've been through this once and pretty much get it at this point. We know what worked and what didn't. I now have 3 Longaberger reps who want to help me, how do I handle that? It was fun, and a lot less heavy lifting work than our yard sale was. It had the potential to really bring in a lot of money toward our adoption. Perhaps we will do it again, we have the stuff, I'm just not sure that my inclination won't be to cancel it if we don't have enough advance response, and how we would go about doing so. We also had someone mention that we could do a bull roast-she's organized two of them for her children's sports leagues, the first of which raised over $10K, and the second raised $21K. The only problem with that is that she started off by saying that we would need to get a lot of places or organizations to sponsor items for a silent auction-I believe that will not work for us given our lack of being a charity or 501(c)3, and given our difficulty with getting sponsors to assist us with even a basket bingo. For that reason, I think it may not be a good fundraiser for our family, but I think it might be a great one for our fire department to do.

My aunt who helped us today, sent me a sweet email this evening after she thought about today and how we must be feeling after it, and she made a point. God has already chosen the child who will be placed with us. That child may not be conceived yet. Perhaps this obstacle is meant to happen for reason of God's perfect timing. I have no idea. I know that He has a plan for us, and I for sure don't know what it is, I'd just like to think we'll have everything we will need as far as these funds go when our child is ready for us. I don't know what else to say. I'm open to suggestions or ideas if anyone has any. If you've read this far, and I've not lost you, thank you for sticking with my rambling. I had to get it out of my head so that I might actually sleep tonight.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Go Lucky!

That is what I'd love this blog to be. Happy Go Lucky! I swear I try to be happy when I post. But this week, I'm failing.

Our bingo is on Sunday. Perhaps this fundraiser (not our adoption) is just not meant to be. I say this for many reasons. We've had no luck with our local paper doing what they were supposed to (the editor did last week, but the girl in advertising didn't publish our ad, and this week the girl who was supposed to put it on the calendar of events didn't and never bothered to call me). Our city's paper which we ran an ad with insisted on putting it somewhere people won't see it unless they are looking to see who adopted recently. The two calls I have gotten as a result of that were just people interested in what we were doing, or wanted to sell us baskets for our bingo.

We have advertised it everywhere we could think. Craigslist, some basket bingo websites, bingo halls, people's cars in grocery store lots and bingo lots (I know, I hate flyers on my car too, but it's a good cause, and darn it I'm freaking out!). We've told everyone we know, and had it all over facebook. Do you know how many tickets we've sold???? 14. Yup, and we had 210 to sell. I am praying that we have a ton of people just show up who didn't reserve tickets. Our difference in price for reserved vs. at the door is only $2. What didn't I consider when we planned this bingo? The Raven's game. I am kicking myself. I'd love to be watching the game, we are huge fans, but I planned the bingo for 2pm, and the game is at 1pm. That's ok for us to miss it, but no offense to the rest of the football world, we are really hoping there are some football widows out there, and some non-sport people who will come. My girlfriend had a dream that she and her mom showed up thinking for sure they'd get seats since we'd only sold 14 tickets, only to find that the place was mobbed and we'd sold out. I pray that her dream comes true (and we will make seats for them!).

And I know that God won't give us more than we can handle, but to be honest, between our roof needing to be replaced and leaking, our having spent everything on this bingo because not many businesses would sponsor baskets or help fill them, and then the poor advance response to the bingo, I think I might break. We pray every night, and last night my mind was so full of this bingo stuff that I forgot until my two-year-old said to me at bedtime, "Mommy, we say our prayers?". God love that child. My mind is not clear. I am just trying to keep my head above water and get through this weekend.

Please pray that this weekend goes well and I don't lose it!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Family Update

Ok, so I have to say that yes, our adoption is a huge thing for us right now, and this blog is obviously titled to reflect that. However, people who do not know us personally don't know much about us as a family, and my family is pretty darn important to me. So, in addition to blogging about our fundraising, status with our open adoption and trials and tribulations associated with that, I want to write about what is going on in our lives.

So, a brief update. If you want more of the back story with how in the world we got here, please read this post. Jack is doing great. He is now completely potty trained, we're only using pull-ups at night, and that is really just to use them up. My mom had said before we left for vacation that he was still occassionally having a wet pull up in the morning, but that hasn't happened for us in quite a while. This past week he started going to school 3 times a week instead of the normal 2. He likes school so much that sometimes on our way home from work in the morning, when I would pass the exit for his Gemma's house and his school, he would say, "Jack don't got to school today?" I would say, "No buddy, it's not your day." To which he would respond with tears and whining. I thought that hanging out with me all day was pretty cool, but evidently even at almost 3 friends are way cooler. Pity party for me! I guess I should be ecstatic that when I go to pick him up from school, he's all about seeing me and leaving right then to go home and play with me instead of his school friends. The fact that "Mommy, Daddy, Gemma, and Aunt Holly" are all his best friends is all pretty awesome. So I guess as much as it pains me to sit around wondering if he's having fun, paying attention and listening to his teachers, and missing him to bits, it really is healthy for him, and I'm just glad that he enjoys going there.

His school is a small Christian preschool, and he really looks forward to seeing his friends and teachers. He learns so much, and it never ceases to amaze me how much he knows and how smart he is. He's so social, intuitive, and caring, especially about whether people are happy or sad. Shoot, I get teary just sitting here thinking about how special our little miracle is. Archie and I just look at him doing something funny, cute or sweet, and we look at each other and immediately we know what the other is thinking..."Thank you God, we love this boy so much." We're not extremely religious which you will see if you look back at some previous posts, but we do believe in God, we do believe that He is the reason we have Jack, and we believe that He is the way to our next child. For some reason, which only He knows, it wasn't meant to be as easy for us to conceive as it is for others. We don't take any of it for granted. We love every moment that we have with Jack, and when we say our prayers at night with Jack, we pray that God helps us to stay healthy, and helps to lead us to the child meant to be placed with our family, and that whatever child comes to us will grow up to know love, their story, and their first family.


Crazy...that is how I would describe my life since I last posted. I have a ton of things to put into this post, so I will try to organize it to flow as best I can, but it may just sound like a bunch of thoughts.

My brain is fried. We came back from vacation to a stinky house. What was that smell? Our roof was leaking into our bedroom, had saturated our carpet and our wall had a watermark going to the floor. We called in a roofer and are going to have to replace our roof. Then we're going to have to probably have some mold/mildew remediation done. Perhaps not in that order. They may start the remediation before the roof is done. That said, I'm calling our homeowner's insurance on Monday morning to see if they will cover any of those expenses. So that's what we've been dealing with for the last week.

We are now 8 days away from our basket and bags bingo. Exciting? Yes. Stressful? Heck yes! Overwhelmed, well that about describes me at the moment. We have had 14 people reserve tickets which is great. But we have 210 seats to fill. And the Raven's game is at 1pm on that day. I didn't think to check our football team's schedule when we planned this event. That may account for some of the poor response. Being as we took all of the money we had raised with our yard sale back in June and put it towards this and then the additional money we've invested into this, I'm a little panicky.

That said, we have had the event posted on multiple websites, craigslist, facebook, our city's newspaper, and hopefully next week the people at our local newspaper will finally publish our ad there too. Thursday night my mom and I went to one bingo hall in an attempt to post up flyers on cars, and quickly got booted by the security guy. We tried another and were able to put a bunch of flyers on cars, as well as cars at a nearby grocery store. Then before I came into work last night I went to my fire station's bingo hall and put flyers out on the tables hoping that we might get a few interested people there. I will do the same thing tonight before I come back into work. I need to talk to my Longaberger rep and get our baskets which should be in(lest I really lose it!), pick up tickets for the raffles, put out more flyers at the bingo halls on Friday and Saturday night, go get all of the food for the kitchen, pick up a few more things for the baskets and organize them.

My request is simple. Please pray for us to sell all of our tickets, to at the very least break even and not lose money with this event, and for us to handle whatever the outcome of next Sunday is as best we can. Thanks guys.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Theme of Loss

I had an interesting conversation with a woman yesterday. We have our basket and bags bingo coming up at the end of this month, and we have advertised it in our local paper as well as The Sun which is Baltimore's paper. Anyway, when I got the phone call, I got excited, and I thought that this person was calling to reserve tickets. She always looks for basket bingos in the paper (she has a Longaberger affinity and is trying to liquidate some of her items), and when she saw adoption mentioned in it, she wanted to call as she herself had been adopted.

It turns out that this woman who is 54 years old works at the same hospital that I do, in a different department. She is a nurse as well. We talked on the phone for a good 15 minutes. She was adopted when she was young, and her parents had always told her that they had come to get her, but she doesn't know how old she was when she was adopted, or anything about her first family. And she's not interested in knowing about them. She says that when kids would ask her about her adoption and ask her if she ever wanted to find her parents, she would say that she didn't need to, she had them in her life everyday. She would have liked to know things like why, but she was satisfied with the love and family that she had growing up. She was a child in a closed adoption. There aren't many of those anymore, obviously if you've been following my blog, we've talked a lot about open adoption. Her mother passed away a few years ago, and her dad is living with her and her husband, but has Alzheimer's and will shortly be going to live elsewhere. We talked about him (this conversation brought tears on both of our parts, her for her situation, mine for what she is going through), and about her and her husband's struggle with infertility. She now has furkids (dogs), and thinks that if she had a child, the child would be 14-15 years old, and it would be really hard to support both her child and her ailing father. She believes God knew what he was doing. She said something to me during our conversation which really got my tears going. While talking to her husband about her father's disease and his deterioration, she said to him, "I will be an orphan again." He, of course, told her that she'd always have him, her aunts, and her uncles. She said that she knew that, but it was different. Of course it is different.

Adoption has a theme of loss. All of the children in adoption go through the loss of their first family. Our child will have suffered at least two losses before coming home with us-the loss of their first family, and the loss of their "foster" family, the family who takes our child into their home while his or her first family makes their final decision on parenting them. Children in the foster care system suffer many more than that sometimes, they are shuffled from home to home and if they are lucky, they are adopted by a loving family. This woman, at 54 years old, is still dealing with this. This is not something that biological families has to deal with. Sure, a grandparent may pass, aunts and uncles, but adopted children will face those losses as well. Adopted children face loss everyday. It is a part of their story. It is a part of them. I hope that we have a good relationship with our child's first family so that while there were definitely some things that they lost by being raised by that family, that they may still be able to have a relationship with them, and that is not completely lost.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Naming Game

What a hot topic in open adoption!

Heather posted the topic for the Open Adoption Roundtable #6. The question was this: Write about names/naming and open adoption.

It is a hot topic in the adoption world for good reason. What parent doesn't want to name their child? Not many, for sure. It's something we tend to take for granted, that we will be able to name our child. We named Jack. He is our biological child. Expectant parents are giving their biological child up for adoption. So, who has the naming priviledge? This is something that not too many people agree upon. Heck, if we're being honest, I'm not even sure that I can come to a conclusion with how I feel about it myself. So I will just spill to you how I feel about it and the things that go through my mind when I think about this.

Our future child's parents could stipulate when looking for adoptive parents for their child that their name be the name used for their child. They could decide that they don't want to name their child for many reasons, they don't want to have that attachment, they may think that if they don't name them, they won't feel as bonded and thus won't be as hurt when that child is no longer with them. Or, as Ginger stated on her blog about this topic
"I was terrified that insisting on the naming issue, or even giving my opinion on the naming issue would chase away the parents I wanted...and so with much regret, I gave that up."

No joke, that statement gripped me. Oh my God. How awful to feel like you couldn't give the slightest bit of input or feel a certain way about a name because you wanted a set of parents for your child so badly. I try really hard to see "the other side". If I am honest, I sat here with tears streaming down my face. These moms who are contemplating adoption and making a plan for their child have enough other stressors and things to think about without having this worry on their minds as well.

A lot of my coworkers and friends have said, "Well, it will be your child, you should get to name them." For us, it's just not that simple. Some adopted children later feel like they lost a connection to their first family when their name was changed. They wonder if they had a name before they were adopted. What was it? Why did my parents change it? I stated in a previous post that in an ideal world, our child's first parents would want to at least give us some input into a name. To be completely honest, if a parent was dead set on a name and the stipulation was that we had to keep that name, and we hated it, I think we would feel like we had to either honor their wishes with the name, or move on and wait for another child and family to come along. If we liked the name, it wouldn't be an issue. But there are just some names we can't get with. Where I work, we see our fair share of names, and to be completely honest, some are downright hideous! I would feel awful turning away from a potential match because of a name. But, I would feel even worse asking that first mom to give up something that meant so much to her for her child.

We have name ideas of course. Names we had thought of for the child we thought we might be able to conceive earlier this year with our last IVF cycle. Will those names be the same top choices at the time we end up getting placed? No one knows. The name choices we had when we were brainstorming during our pregnancy with Jack aren't exactly ones I would choose now. I have to say that I am not sure what we would do if all of the suggestions our potential child's first mom came up with were names we could never see ourselves using. The last thing we want to do is hurt anyone's feelings or insult them. A lot of people we know don't understand that. The thought is that it would be our child, our choice. But in open adoption, at least in ours, we truly do hope to have a good solid relationship develop over time with our child's first family. We want to start off on the right foot. If our child's first parents don't want to help us name the child, I would like to think that they would at least give us their opinions on names that we like so that we don't pick something that they totally despise.

When we were thinking of names for Jack, and before our last IVF cycle doing the little daydreaming that couples trying to conceive do, we talked to people about our names we liked. My mom, our friends...and everyone has an opinion of course! I have no idea how we will bring this subject up with a potential expectant mom, maybe she'll bring it up with us. When Luna, a blogging adoptive mom wrote about this topic on her blog, many of the thing she mentioned were the same way we felt, but she's been through it already. We haven't. But this rang true on her blog if naming our child with the first parents is to be as successful as we can hope.
One thing was clear. We would not discuss names with anyone but K. No one.

We may be able to try to get ideas for names elsewhere to bring to the table to discuss with our child's first family, but coming to a decision has to be between those of us immediately involved, us and the child's first family.
This may kill us, particularly me. But once you've named your child, people are less likely to say right to you anyway, that they hate the name. I will know with some people like my mom right away whether or not she likes it, and she won't have to say a thing. Her facial expression will say it all. LOL. I remember being a kid and telling her I loved the name Dakota Rose, and the look on her face I will never forget. No doubt she's glad I dropped that name a long time ago! Wow, I am so much like her in that way! I may have to work on my game face for some discussions to be had later on particularly if we plan to be open to hearing what a first mom might like name-wise. Remember, my whole "not offending" her and starting the relationship off on the right foot.

I am sure that I may have to rethink some of this as things develop and I continue to read about other Open Adoption Blogger's experiences. I hope that at least some of this makes sense-I slept for two hours out of the last 30 hours, and that two hours was broken with multiple phone calls. Sacrifices we make so we can have fun with and make memories with our little ones. I just had to post about this now because it's something I think about all the time, and it actually gives me a bit of anxiety. We just want everything to work out as smoothly as possible with our adoption, and this is a very important aspect for us.

There are a lot of different experiences and perspectives to consider where naming an adopted child is concerned. If you're interested in reading more blog posts with regards to this subject, please browse through the OA Bloggers listed on Heather's site.