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A few months ago we made the announcement on Facebook that Matt and I have been approved for adoption by the state of Arizona. It was a process that started January 1st, 2013 and continues until we finalize a placement that has chosen us by a very brave and trusting birthmother. We are so happy to have this opportunity to grow our family and to all the friends and family who have supported our decision and our journey. The best thing we can do now is keep spreading the word to as many people as possible. The phrase that keeps coming up in conversation is “You just never know.” Meaning, you never know who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who might be considering adoption. If the word of us gets to them, we hope that they will consider us as the adoptive parents.

In this journey, and as this blog has documented since the beginning of our decisions, we have had many things to consider. I would like to discuss briefly my personal choice to be an adoptive mother rather than researching and considering IVF or surrogacy. I have posted my theories and thoughts and fears regarding healthcare and the idea of seeking medical attention any further than I already have is expensive and emotionally stressful. My hormones already give me enough trouble without adding the progesterone injections and what-not that fertility treatments would give me. The only difference is NOW I’m paying for it out of pocket. Whe? No. Then, what happens if we take further steps and financial investment only to be disappointed when or if it doesn’t work? I would be emotionally and financially devastated every time. And all this just to have a baby that is blood related to Matt and/or myself?

When my husband and I discussed it at great length, it didn’t feel worth it to either of us. We didn’t come to that decision easily or even at the same time.  We both struggled with coming to grips with my infertility at different times and in different ways. I was on board with the idea to adopt as soon as we decided that it would be a good time to start a family. I was also grieving the loss of the idea of being pregnant and having a child naturally, but it wouldn’t stop me from taking the next step and getting the adoption wheels turning. Matt would comment to me when I was in the very lows of feeling down, “Why does it upset you so much? You know we can always adopt!”

It was August 2012 that we went to the first intake meeting for the adoption agency that we chose through our church. This is when you sit in a room with a caseworker and about 4 other couples considering adoption and they hand you a folder and walk you through the process from beginning to end. It is the first step toward adoption, and when you decided if it is a road you are willing to go down. I listened intently and felt very sure that this sounded exactly the road I wanted to be on. I was certain Matt felt the same. It wasn’t until we got home and really talked about our feelings that we were both surprised to find out we were not on the same page. Looking back on it now, I could have handled the situation with more sympathy and understanding. Instead, I flipped out. The meeting scared him and he suddenly wasn’t sure this is what he wanted. I was angry and felt abandoned because we had previously decided this is what we both wanted. I felt strongly that if we didn’t go through with adoption, we would not have any children at all and this was not acceptable to me.

It took a few more months of agonizing insecurity, long conversations ending in tears, and emotional soul searching for us to both realize that Matt was actually just beginning his grief over my infertility. He admitted that a large part of his “freak out” was just the realization that he wouldn’t have the child from his own DNA that he had always pictured. I tell you this because if there is any other couples out there going through what we have, or are going through, you might be saved a little grief. Once I realized he needed the compassion I had needed all those years, it was much easier to be sympathetic and we could get past our insecurities about adoption.

This is why it took 5 months after our initial Intake meeting to actually begin the process. From January 1st to August 2013 (1 year after our first meeting) we were busy filling out forms, getting references, filling out profiles, taking online training courses on open adoption, and preparing our house for our home-visit. It was a great relief when we received our letter and certificate of approval for adoption! Even though it took a little while for Matt to come around, no one could be more excited and supportive. He is the model of an adoptive dad. I am excited to see the fruits of our efforts and hope that a baby finds it way to us soon. If you know anyone who is considering adoption, or have any means to post this link,  let them check us out on our new “family style” blog and it will direct them to contacting our caseworker and our profile at the agency:

www.earlofdestiny.blogspot.com

The past year or so I have heard key words in the news “Healthcare reform”. I don’t presume to know anything about any of it. I don’t know the politics, incentives, tax dollars, or what companies are lobbying for what. I will tell you what I DO know. I know that many of the women I’ve spoke to on the subject, myself included, are simply afraid of our healthcare system. My experiences is limited, and yet it scared me enough to chase me away from doctors and perhaps seeking the healthcare I really need. Healthcare I DESERVE as an dedicated payer of taxes and health insurance. Many women I speak to have similar experiences, but I can only tell you what I know.

Let me take you back to before I was diagnosed with my “inconceivable” condition. That’s a joke, get it? My husband and I were between steady employment and in transition from moving states after my husband finished school. We decided to do the responsible thing and shop for independent health insurance in the mean time. We applied for SelectHealth and I naively filled out the forms very honestly. I had listed that I had always experienced irregular menstrual cycles. Nothing series (that I knew of at the time) and no treatment needed. They denied us health insurance! When I investigated further, they stated their reason as: Possible infertility and a risk to multiple births as a result of fertility treatments. My husband and I had made no indication that we wanted to try and have children, but I guess they couldn’t take the risk. They didn’t want to pay for the  twins or triplets I could possibly conceive at some later date that is undetermined at this time!? This was the first time I realized I was in for a lifetime of this bu**$**t.

Fast forward to my diagnosis. As a result of a simple blood test, the doctor had told me that my FSH levels were too high for my age and it would result in my ovaries failing to ovulate regularly. What I wanted and needed was an explanation as why this might happen or the cause. I did not want to seek infertility treatments to start a family yet, but I wanted to be healthy and I was sure my current health insurance would agree and get on board. They are looking out for me, aren’t they? They referred me to a fertility specialist who said, “No one knows why this happens. Let’s start you on hormone therapy and see what happens after a year.” What I was beginning to suspect was that doctors were not in the business of finding out why, but simply treating the symptoms with one medication or another. He ordered some more blood tests. I had no reason to deny more tests to be run. I figured more tests were needed to check hormone levels and I my insurance had always covered blood tests in the past. Why not? Right?

It was only when I got the $1000+ bill for a “simple blood test” that I knew I had to gear up for a fight. The insurance company claimed that this blood test was somehow different than the others and coded as something-else-something and they did not cover it. Did the doctor tell me at any point that this might be on my own dime? Did he ask me if I should go ahead with the test? No. I did not have that kind of money lying around and I fought tooth and nail to get the insurance company to pay for it. This experience taught me a few things: I do not like going to doctors and I don’t like fighting. I do not like trusting insurance companies and giving them money from my paycheck every month only to have to fight them when it comes time to pay for my healthcare. I had to get a written letter from my doctor claiming that the test was necessary to my health. In a similar situation: I had a friend who recently had a baby. She received a bill to pay for a nurse that helped in the delivery who happened to be out of the insurance company’s “provider list”. No one asked my friend as she was being prepped in the OR for her cesarean if it was ok for this “out of network” nurse to come in and help and would she accept the charges.

Recently I have been seeing a dermatologist to help treat some of the unfortunate side effects to my hormone problems. I had hoped she had insight and product recommendations to my skin issues. She had me start on creams and gels that I am supposed to take over time and later prescribed a fancy little cream that she calls “the marathon”. She gave me the sample tubes, a prescription discount card and sent me on my way. I found out upon picking it up at the drug store that my insurance doesn’t cover this new little cream and it will cost me $120/hit. Yeah, no. So, here I go. Ready to call my insurance and convince them that I need it.

It is situations like these, and the other stories where a postpartum medical invoice includes a $400 “nursery fee” when the baby spent no time in the hospital nursery but they justify it by saying it was for “when they cleaned off the baby with a towel” after delivery, that make women like us go running for something other than western medicine. I recently went to see a respected Iridologist. She looks at the patterns in your iris to measure weaknesses in your body’s functions. She uses a way to measure energies in the body to find out what are the causes and cures by finding out exactly what the body needs. Whether you agree with this technique or no, I will tell you what I found out. She said that my body has the ability to work perfectly fine. The high FSH levels are only a reaction to my adrenal glands not functioning properly (among other issues in my body that needed to be worked out). She put me on a strict diet and vitamin regime to put the body back in functioning order. She showed me in her medical books where it proves that malfunctioning adrenal glands can cause hormone levels to fluctuate. What I don’t understand: How can she find an answer and source to my issues so easily when my doctors have all shrugged at me and basically said, “That’s just the way it is. No one knows why. Here’s some pills.”

Now, I’ve done all that has been asked of me. I took the hormones. I didn’t take the hormones. I took the vitamins and ate (didn’t eat) the food. The next logical step is to ask my doctor for a referral to an Endocrinologist to look into the adrenal gland issue. Why don’t I do that? I. AM. TERRIFIED. I am scared that I will be gearing up for another fight with insurance companies. That my doctor will try to treat the symptoms and not dig for the cause. I am worried that it will cost me a lot of money for no benefit.  I feel  lost and confused and no one is really on my team. I know a lot of other women who feel the same way and have their own stories to tell. What I don’t know about this healthcare reform could fill this website and more. What I do know, is the real issue is in the healthcare system. We cannot be afraid to use it because we are scared it won’t do any good. Those of us with good jobs who dutifully pay our premiums and deductibles should not be arguing with insurance companies to do their job. Who do I talk to about this? Can I speak with your manager?

A very good friend and coworker of mine just had baby number two, another had baby #4 last year, and another had baby #1 about 13 months ago. Although I have many dear and close friends, my coworker friends become so much like family with the incredible amount of daytime hours we spend together. I had the privilege of having front row seats to their pregnancy, and play-by-play recall of their childbirth, and the first year of their children’s infancy. I am proud to play surrogate auntie and so grateful they have let me into their lives.

I am also so grateful to hear every complaint. I have mentioned in previous posts, but I never fault a pregnant woman for complaining. I know that some women who have trouble conceiving might be the  “You should never complain about what the rest of us would give anything to have” kind of attitude. I just know that if I was the one going through it, I wouldn’t want anyone to take away my right to complain. I will even do one better, I welcome it. There is nothing in the world to make you feel more secure about never going through pregnancy and childbirth like hearing what it’s really like for most women, even under the best of circumstances.

With the fear of embarrassing my dear friends, I won’t go into too much detail. The coworker that had baby #1 had such a horrible childbirth experience, and without family close by, she did not recover enough to care for her baby for several weeks after having him. Another woman had complications and early contractions so she was on strict bed rest for the last 2 months of her pregnancy. The most uncomplicated of the three had her baby just a few weeks ago. She had relatively normal symptoms, difficulties, and childbirth but even then I had to witness how difficult it is to care for a 3 year old while dealing with these issues.  In addition to the three women I mentioned, the kindergarten teacher from last year was also pregnant for most of the school year. She had the worst and longest lasting case of morning sickness I’ve ever seen!

Why is all of this important?  Put yourself in my shoes: think about if you had been dreaming your whole life of the day you see the plus on the stick and know you have a living human being growing inside you.  You imagine telling your significant other with a beautiful joy that only you can share. You daydream of the months you spend growing them inside of you, feeling them move and kick. You picture an exciting rush to the hospital, painful, but worth-it delivery. The doctor resting your perfect bundle of joy in your arms and you smiling up at your supportive and wonderful husband as you three bask in the wonder of it all. *sigh* .  . .Then imagine that whole scenario is ripped from your field of vision without warning or control. Isn’t it nice to find out that that scenerio doesn’t exist anyway? Not quite that way. Here’s how I imagine it COULD be if I compile a few peices of knowledge I’ve picked up:

You take a pregnancy test after being days late of your menstrual cycle and feeling extra bloated and crampy. You are joyous to find out your pregnant, and you celebrate in just in time to become nauseous and gassy. You want to eat everything, but can’t stomach anything for at least 3 months. You are excited again when you feel the baby move for the first time, but celebrate only long enough until the baby starts to kick you in uncomfortable places. Now, you have to pee a lot (sometimes even when you’re not prepared to do so), you feel fat, you are uncomfortable in every way, you are too big to sleep and breath, you might have hemorrhoids (I hear that can happen), you’re hot and sweaty, and you kind of hate your husband. Oh, and you cry. Then, either the real contractions start naturally, or you carry the baby until you’re way too uncomfortable to stand it and get induced.Childbirth begins. Worst pain imaginable in your muscles and nerves, tearing, ripping, ridiculously enlarged needles going into your spine, exhaustion, and long term damage to your body that at BEST your bladder will never work the same again. Then, the after-birth recovery starts. Intense bleeding, hormone changes, and worse if the birth was difficult or c-section. All of this while trying to care for an infant and running on little sleep. Also, breastfeeding has maximum benefits to the baby, but the baby won’t latch. Even if they do, it’s extremely uncomfortable on your nipples and you keep getting infections in your breasts. Oh, and you kind of hate your husband.  

Boo! Feel much better about not having scenerio #1, am I right?

I am going to borrow this link from a friend who posted it on facebook, but I’m not going to put it in my links section just because it only portains to this post specifically:

http://www.pregnantchicken.com/pregnant-chicken-blog/2010/9/23/happily-after-giving-birth-10-things-they-dont-tell-you.html

To those who are about to go through any of this, I always say: Happy Pushing!

For almost a year I’ve neglected my blog out of respect to the stages of grief. Even with a 9 month hiatus I can confidenlty say I’m more devoted to this blog than I ever was to my journal. For what I’ve blogged so far, and for all the future blogging I’m about to do, I apologize for nothing. That said, I would like to share with any readers (if there are any left who might scan over this) the personal journey of spiritual awakening and self-awareness. If anyone knows me personally, you know that I do not share my true self often. Most of who I am to my average friend and acquaintance is the bare surface. I prefer to keep it that way.I fear that revealing myself too much leaves me exposed to be judged or criticized. I suppose that is why I started this blog. It is my way of reaching out, connecting, with those I would consider to be the closest, safest and most understanding people in my life.

I have added a few links to provide further information about a few topics I am going to share. My husband and I were introduced to a documentary made from a book called ‘The Secret’ a few months ago. Since then, we’ve devoted a lot of our free time and spiritual study on this and similar life changes. We’ve noticed a significant difference in our lives, and for me, learning to accept what may or may not happen with my fertility. I now realize that possibilities are endless, and I have power of mind to control what is brought my way.

Matt has used his study of The Secret to learn more about being successful financially. This didn’t surprise me. Since I’ve known Matt he’s been a frugal type of person, a natural fear of debt, and a certain sense of pride with earning and saving. I am enough the same way that our marriage has weathered any financial storm with very little conflict (thank goodness). Anyway, it was no surprise to me that he interpreted The Secret in his life to getting rich. Wealthy, not greedy, but a comfortable living without need for more. He found The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles which lead him to read some of his other books The Science of Being Well and Health Through New Thought Fasting, all dedicated to the idea that the mind has been scientifically proven to overcome all things if trained to think the right way. In the short time we’ve been practicing these simple life changes, we’ve seen results that prove (at least to us) that it can work. Matt’s success at work with promotions and raises, buying a the car that he wanted, making upgrades and small renovations to our home, vacations we believe were all made possible by the positive thinking and focus we practice.

I had seen how the power my mind had made things possible for me. I had pinned a picture of a bedroom set I had my eyes on to the desktop of my computer and within 2 months it was in my bedroom. How? I had been visualizing it in my bedroom, when an unplanned trip to the furniture store on a lazy Saturday, we happened to find that bedroom set in the sale corner of the store. I choose to believe it wasn’t coincidence. The Secret emphasises that in order for things you want to be attracted to you, you must live with the same happiness and joy as if you already have it. Even after seeing this working in our lives, I was still struggling with my infertility and why I couldn’t control that aspect of my life. I still felt that my body was out of my control, broken. What’s more, I didn’t want to give up my grief for positive thinking yet. Matt would get frustrated because I wasn’t using the secret to think positive, instead focusing on what I couldn’t have and how bad I wanted it. It just wasn’t that easy to let go. I wanted PERMISSION to be upset, angry, frustrated, devastated, and overwhelmed. Adoption is expensive. IVF is more expensive with little guarantee it would work. My hopes and dreams of starting a family seemed further out of reach every day.

What frustrated me most is how much focus Matt was putting on getting rich, and very little attention to having a baby make its way into our future. I felt, and still feel, that if it’s going to happen, we both need to be focused on the same goal. I never want adopting a baby to feel like getting a puppy. Me: “Can I keep it Matty, huh, can I?” Matt: “Weeeell, Ok. But you have to take care of it. Feed it, play with it. It’s your baby.” I need to know that he is just as much on board with the whole process. He never has seemed like it to me. He’s not all that comfortable around kids, babies especially.

Then, Matt comes to me and says. “I think if you really want a baby, you need to be visualizing it every waking moment. What I’ve been reading, if you have to remind yourself to keep thinking about it, you don’t really want it all that bad. It has to be as if NOT thinking about it would be like not having oxygen” I had to force myself not to roll my eyes. My first thought was, ‘You really don’t need to give me lessons on visualization. Being a teacher, artist, and actress (by hobby, not profession), I’ve perfected the art of imagination way past the age when it’s socially acceptable. How do you think I get through my life? Even now, I’m not typing my computer in my bedroom, but in a tropical beach somewhere with crystal blue water, palm trees, 75 degrees, and white sand under my feet. I’m the QUEEN of my own universe. Visualize that.’ My second thought was, ‘I’m not the one who needs to be told to imagine myself with a baby, think about a baby, visualize MY baby. YOU’RE the one who needs practice in this department.’

Matt admitted to me that thinking about himself as a parent does not come naturally to him. He thinks about success at work, making more money, more easily. Focusing on that keeps him focused and determined which is why the success has become more and more real. So I asked him, “But why? Why work so hard? Why work for a raise or a promotion? With both or our income, we do well enough to live comfortable and some left over to play with. So tell me, why?” He thought for a moment, “Because I want to make enough to afford adopting a baby and providing for you and the baby if you stay home to raise our children.” I said, “There, you see? We were both working for the same outcome. We just focus on it in different ways. All you have to do is take your focus on money a step further.”

Last night, Matt and I watched videos about ‘Tapping’ that intrigued me. Our path of study lead us to it after Matt read The Science of Getting Rich. Tapping is a form of acupuncture that replaced needles with tapping pressure points of the body. The idea is that while tapping, you talk through your stress and rewire your brain to form new habits. It has helped people lose weight, quit smoking, calm physical pains, as well as provide meditation and therapy to calm emotional stress. We watched some of the videos and began using the tapping method to calm more obvious stresses, and found deep emotional stresses that are the cause of it. This is how I came to be aware of the pain I felt for having not had a baby yet. I found that regret, self-consciousness, self-pity, sense of failure were all blocking my ability to feel well.

The journey to acceptance is not over (hence the ? in the title), but I have found these theories, methods, philosophies to be inspiring and helpful. I thought they might be helpful to others. I know that my faith in my church, Heavenly Father, my family, friends, myself have grown immensely. I feel a strong connection to the positive thinking exercises and my own happiness throughout the day, and the way I handle stress. I would be proud to share the wealth and I would like to know how or if it has any effect in your life.

Puppy Love

I’d appreciate if you are a parent of a human being, try to have some understanding of where I’m coming from here and not judge me too much on my naivety. This entry is, in actuality, a confession of my ignorance. As an educator I devote my life to learning and benefiting children’s needs. I would never claim to know or lecture anyone on the best way to raise children, but I’ll admit I’ve expressed my opinions and ideas in case I’m ever given the opportunity to use them. In my years of study and experience, I’d grown confident in my ability to prove my capabilities as a parent. Now, I can honestly bow down and kiss the feet of anyone giving their best effort at keeping sanity while claiming the title of “mother”.

My recent self-reflection revelation came when I brought home my first, brand new, baby.  . .puppy. I mentally prepared myself for months before we brought her home, knowing how difficult and stressful raising and training a puppy can be. We purchased our baby girl before she was even born, signing a contract and entering an agreement to care for a pure-bred, miniature Australian Shepherd. You could call it practice for the inevitable day when we enter an adoption agreement for a human baby. I don’t want anyone after me with comments about, “You should have looked for a companion in a shelter or rescue for a dog with dire need of a home.” I’ve seen the super-sad puppy dog commercials with the  Sarah McLaughlin songs, so I get it. Well, we tried that first. In searching the local shelters we concluded we would never be good parents to a chihuahua or pit-bull mix, which is all there is available. The Australian Shepherd breed is high on the intelligence chart and we know that can be both an advantage and a challenge.

In the months since deciding to be puppy parents and then waiting for her to be born, weened, and pass her 8 week check-up, I prepared. I purchased the necessary puppy-proofing equipment and all the accessories. I researched puppy training tools, sought the best deals, and read many books. I did all the planning steps and milestones you might see in an expectant mother, short of Lamaze classes. I realize that I could have appeared . . .well, crazy to anyone who didn’t know me. During this time, we were in the process of buying a house (nesting) and the distractions were exactly what I needed. To anyone who DOES know me, I hope they understood how much I needed this happiness in my life and clung to it religiously.

I was busy planning physically, but I also ran scenarios through my mind to prepare myself for the certain stress I would experience in the first year. Puppies are a handful, anyone can tell you. I’ve often heard my mom say that the first 2 years with our dog, Louie, was worse than having a toddler. The messes, the chewing, the digging, the barking and the never-ending energy! It was a constant training frenzy. I had to have a plan for everything: What I would do if she barks all night, chews furniture, potty training. . .etc. I thought I was ready.

Then, it was time to bring the little precious home. We had been to visit her several times at the breeder’s house. We had an updated picture for every week of her short infancy in an album. We had the car decked out in puppy-tarp and carrying case. We thought of everything. I had even spent the morning cleaning our new (yes, new!) house, because I thought I wouldn’t have enough time once the baby/puppy was home. From day 1, she tested my every expectation. Like being a parent, huh? She slept all day!

From the day we brought her home, I had no way of preparing myself for the sheer frustration and lack of confidence I would feel. The first 2 weeks I spent every free moment cleaning the floors obsessively. It wasn’t that she had that many accidents on the floor, because she was actually  well trained for an 8 week puppy. It was just the all-tile floors, and they just NEVER seemed to stay clean! I was trying every cleaning product known to man, and I couldn’t keep the little specks of dirt or marks from appearing only seconds later. And because I was taking the little pup out every hour, she would track in more with each trip to the backyard. Aaaah! Then, there’s the constant need for attention and teaching and validation. The job never ends, and no activity is sacred. Even now, I have not typed this entry without quick pauses to get her head out of the garbage, taking away her bag of treats that she pulled from her own toy box, seeing where she went hiding and why it just got soooo quiet. . .all of a sudden. There have been days, and moments, where I thought I might completely lose my sanity.

All the mental preparation wasn’t sufficient to allow myself true knowledge of the sheer frustration that raising a puppy could be. The whole experience had me feeling very inadequate. I began to doubt whether I could ever handle being a mother (of a human baby) or if I had been stricken barren by the Lord for a very good reason: I was never meant to raise children. All these years believing that I could actually do this, and better than some others! The nerve I had to even think it. Although my complaints and experiences have been for a meer animal in my care, I do understand that the responsibility of caring for a child is 10 times this. I was shaken, to say the least.

To make matters worse, I have the responsibility of caring for, teaching, and devoting my life to the education of other people’s children. How could a mother of a student ever trust me to give educational advise about their child when I don’t have a clue what it is to actually raise one myself? I can mentally prepare myself and make decisions about how I’d handle being a mother, but I will NEVER, EVER, truly know what it means.

To be fair, she is a very easy-going and mellow little gal compared to other dogs her age and breed. I am grateful for that. Every tear-jerking, hair-pulling experience has been building blocks of moments that can only bring our bond closer and I love her dearly. It has shown me that my efforts and being consistent, however exhausting, are well worth it. Every day is easier, happier, and filled with the joy that only a furry companion can bring to our lives. And so:

* Lucy has taught me that preparation is still important, but the actual experience of being a mother is something no one can predict.

* Lucy has taught me that cleanliness, order, and perfection is solved simply by a change in perspective.

*Lucy has  taught me that devotion and love can be expressed by the willingness to never give up on the teaching moments that matter.

* Lucy has taught me that I am never going to be ready to be a mother, but I that doesn’t mean I’m not qualified.

Mother’s Day Club

When I started this blog, it was over 1 year ago and writing in it made me feel better. Why then, is it so hard to get courage to write in it more frequently?

I have to admit, I’ve been pleasantly distracted in Euphoria for the last 2 months. There is nothing to keep you from being depressed like a good, long, distraction. Matt and I have been in the process of buying our first home. We hope to close the deal in the coming week. We also became self-proclaimed puppy parents to a Miniature Aussie that was born March 26th. She will be coming home on May 28th.

Both events gave me a feeling of finally moving forward in our lives. We can’t be parents yet? Fine. I’ll do everything else. The plan worked so well that I found I no longer cared whether I had/could have children. I found that the daily burst-into-tears moment at the sight of any mother-children routine had finally ebbed. I’ve been stressed and crazed at all the paperwork, money budgeting, and puppy preparations that I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself.

This week is Teacher Appreciation week, as well as today being Mother’s Day. This last year in my career I’ve come to a brilliant conclusion that I wish more parents would understand: PARENTS INFLUENCE THEIR CHILDREN MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD!

Think that’s obvious? Not to everyone. I was told through education we could change children’s lives. If they had a rough home life, WE could be their safe haven for learning. This may be true to a small amount, but I’ve had a front row seat to what really happens.

As a kindergarten teacher, I spent countless hours of teaching time focusing on ‘being a good person’. I teach my class how to respect one another, how to walk away when a situation is unhealthy or uncomfortable, how to keep their hands off of each other. Last year, I substitute taught a High School class for 6 weeks. I saw what NO kindergarten teacher should ever have to see. I realized that all that hard work of teaching comes to no avail. What was I thinking? I get them for ONE year of their lives. As much as I care about them, try to influence them, they are still going to grow up a whole lifetime of influence from other things. High School kids? They don’t respect each other, themselves, or keep their hands off each other. What was the point?

Another realization I came to this year, as I taught first grade . I’ll be honest, this class is a ROUGH bunch of kids. As a class, they tend to barely keep their heads above water. In general, they come from distracted and inconsistent backgrounds so they have little experience or value in education. It is no surprise to me though, that the percentage of my class performing on, or above grade-level are the students with the most parent involvement.  With some of my students, I could inspire, teach, care for, beg, bribe, but they would still NOT do their homework or complete their work in school. Test scores drop and drop.  However, some of my students that may have struggled with one or two subjects in the beginning of the year and need extra teaching time, extra help, are now performing above and beyond expectations. These students are the ones whose parents show up for every conference with me, check their homework every night, sign their Reading Logs and actually ARE reading with them. It is no coincidence.

In short, Parents Matter Most. I am appreciated as a teacher and I am grateful for the chance, but I will never have true influence over a child’s life until I can celebrate Mother’s Day (and not just as the mother of a puppy).

To all the Moms out there:  You are more than just the dishwasher, laundress, taxi, housekeeper, couch, referee, teacher, etc. You are more than ALL of them. Never forget that.

Happy Mother’s Day

Flat Tummy

I suppose anyone would relish a flat tummy in the wake of New Year’s resolutions. Matt and I have certainly made our novel’s worth of goals for this coming year and I waited until February to post them publicly.That way, I could also give a report of how they are actually going in the first month.

1. Work-Out Hour is from 8-9 pm every weeknight, excluding Wednesday.

2. Take supplement vitamins daily.

3. Upon completing coinciding monthly goals leading up to and including: Buying our first house.

4. Manage and budget finances monthly (as part of the goals leading to #3).

5. See the necessary doctors to find the source and hopefully cure for getting these wacky hormones under control. (This eludes to the synthetic hormones possibly needing an adjustment, or maybe I’m just going nuts)

These are our goals for 2011, more or less. How are they going? #1, #2, and #5 are health related but #1 seems to be the only progress made so far. This is not to sound disappointed, however, because this is the first time I’ve stuck to a work-out routine for so many weeks in a row. The results of my achievement is a flat tummy.

Until now, my view towards procreation has been fairly logical and practical. I’ve never considered myself to be a gushing, baby-hungry type of person. I enjoy babies, but I am also happy to hand them right back when they prove too much for my understanding. My desire to have children has always been for the purpose of putting effort and influence towards another human being. I’ve always pictured myself becoming a mother, whatever path it took to get there.

There have been moments lately of intense mourning for what cannot be. Suddenly, I am in the midst of an emotional battle with reason that isn’t logical or practical. I resent a flat tummy when so many blessed women around me experience a growing life inside them. I don’t hesitate when offered the chance to cradle, admire, smell, and dote upon a precious baby that doesn’t belong to me.

I have to stress, again, that this is not like me! It isn’t practical to want a baby, I wanted a life. I wanted to be called Mom. I wanted to see a child of mine raised by us to join the world as another functional citizen of the world. I wanted to trip and stumble my way through parenthood when I came to the unfortunate, but familiar realization that children are not at all easy and they don’t come with instructions! I wanted to see my own child excerpt a personality that surprises and baffles me as to where it came from!

I was once told by a college professor in Family Human Relations. “If people really knew how hard it is to raise children, no one would ever have any.” We don’t know how hard it’s going to be, we have to be programmed to want it with a little bit of un-logical thinking. This may be so, but not many parents know how hard it is NOT to have any.

I’ll leave you with that.

Making lists

It is time, in a peaceful moment at home, that I update my internal dialogue digitally on this blog. I have recently come to the decision to be a mother somehow. When first told that the chances of conceiving naturally were extremely low for me, I didn’t know how to handle it. Should I except my fate as a childless heir? Should I examine other possibilities? Should I keep us hope that it will still happen naturally for me when the time is right?

There is hope. I stopped taking my hormones for a month and nothing happened. I continued the regular dose of Estrogen replacement daily in September and nothing happened for 3 months. Suddenly, for whatever reason, I started a cycle this month without the progesterone! I apologize if this is TMI, but if you could see it from my perspective: My body is showing glimpses of working normal (at least some of the time).

One way or another, I will become a mother. I don’t know when or how, but I’m ready to accept that it’s in my future. I knew I was ready to make that decision (with my husband of course) because I have begun making lists in my mind. Lists of things that I should start getting in order before I could manage being a parent.

  • pay off pending medical bills
  • look into steps of buying a house
  • begin the process of buying a house by February
  • remember to take those go*% da*# daily multi-vitamins

Matt has also expressed his need to get these things in order. As a complete surprise to myself, he has often turned to me and made comments that I never thought I’d hear him say. Things about wanting to be father, preparing for a family, and a future with children of his own. But there have been other lists running through my head lately. Lists of memories I have with my own mother and lists of moments I don’t want to miss:

  • My little girl finding my box of wedding jewelry and asking to try it on
  • Matt holding our little boy up higher to see something he can’t reach.
  • Teaching our pre-teen daughter the proper way to wear make-up that will go best with her eyes.
  • Grounding our teenage son because he came home late. . .again.

I know that other couples faced with infertility must have the same thoughts that I often have when thinking about these things, or when around other couples who have kids. I think, How can anyone who conceives so easily truly understand or comprehend the complete miracle their children are? Can they really have full appreciation for their blessings if it wasn’t hard to obtain?

Just as I don’t really know what being a parent is like, they can never truly know what struggling to become a parent is like. I don’t doubt that these parents love their children with every fiber of their existence, but could they ever really know. . . .you know.. . .what we know?

Different View

My husband and I are up and out. We’ve moved to a new city and back on track again.

For the past two months we’ve been in our own apartment, in a new city, and very satisfied to do so. Matt has been working his new job for two weeks and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure a lot of you know what it feels like to be coming out of harder times. I’m just grateful that it wasn’t worse, which it definitely could have been.

A medical update:

It wasn’t a few weeks under our new health insurance that I wound up in the hospital with severe abdominal pains. I left after two days not knowing exactly what the cause was. Gallbladder malfunction has been a problem in my family for generations so I will need to see a specialist to have the proper tests. After extensive internet research, my husband thinks that it could all be related to the hormones I’ve been taking and that my Gallbladder not working properly could be the cause of my messed-up hormones. It was my decision to stop taking the hormones for a month until I can see a doctor.

After my first experience being admitted to a hospital, I am not altogether trusting of doctors. I kept feeling like I was being treated for symptoms, rather than finding the source of my problems. If hormones and Gallbladder are related, I want to be treated for the Gallbladder to hopefully regulate my hormones. Matt, my husband, thinks that the Gallbladder is meant to regulate hormones and if it isn’t working that could have been the source of my problem all along. Taking synthetic hormones has just been a treatment of a symptom rather than the cause. My goal is to find a doctor who can treat me with a holistic approach.

Being off the hormones, I’m hoping I can see if my body keeps me on a regular cycle, or goes back to nonexistent cycle. The downside is that my skin problems are returning and I have to watch my diet carefully for non-fat foods that will not aggravate the gallbladder.  Making matters worse, my work has been more stressful than it used to be and Matt went a few months without working. Only time will fix the added pressures we have been under.

End medical update.

Well, enough of the boring stuff. I hate to drone on and on about medical hooey. I include it in the hopes that someone can give me their own input or personal experiences. On a more personal level, I have been very satisfied with our current status in society. But, being away from our closest friends has not been easy.  I was looking forward to being a large part of our friends lives as new parents and it has been painful to be detached from them. With one couple we’ve been close to, distance is the only factor causing us to be. . . .um . . .distant.  I know that we are “aunt and uncle” to their baby girl no matter how far away we are. It thrills me to just be considered a friend and we love to get pictures and updates on how the little girl is doing.

With another couple, I know our detachment is more than just us moving away. It is hard for me to see updates on their new baby bundle because I know we are no one to them. I don’t share in their joy, it just hurts so much. We were once very close, and we often see old movies and pictures that remind us how much fun we used to have together. We had been through so much together. Now, it hurts me too much to even think about their new growing family. I thought we’d always be a part of each other’s lives. I want to feel the joy they feel and be a part of them, but it can never be the same again. We’ve been shut out.

It isn’t worth the drama of fixing our dead friendship because I know it only distracts them from where their focus should really be: their new baby. I cannot be selfish and think that our friendship is more than what it isn’t. I’ve accepted that things will never be the same.

I’m sure that everyone has felt the pains of remembering fun times that will never be again. I look around me, and there is not one couple left of our old friends that hasn’t moved on to Baby Kingdom.  A few bachelor friends remain. They deserve their happiness. It’s like I tell my co-workers who have a bun in the oven “You deserve to have all the rights of passage in this blessed event. If I were an expecting mother, no one could take away my right to complain about nausea, morning sickness, back pains, etc.” All I ask, is that I be around to experience it with you.

Health-Insurance Update

I feel I need to give a little rant and rave lately about our insurance situation. If you’ve been keeping in touch with my blog you might be familiar with our ongoing battle with our insurance company to pay for all the procedure and tests done to me in this medical condition I find myself. If you are not familiar here is a quick (I hope) recap:

Upon my regular visit to my lady doctor to get the yearly lady physical, I had a number of concerns that I shared with my doctor. She ran a blood test that tested a long list of things including hormone levels, thyroid function, and any possible infections or abnormalities that could cause my many concerns. A few hormone levels (I can never remember what they are called) came back higher than normal, similar to a women going through menopause, so she ordered to have me come in and repeat those few tests. Again, they came back higher than normal. So, I was referred to a specialist Fertility Clinic to help decipher the next step. At no point did any doctor warn me that this might cause concern for my insurance company or that I should check for authorization before seeing a specialist.

As deeply afraid, concerned, FREAKED OUT(see past blog posts from this time period) as I was at that time, I didn’t give it a second thought and went to the specialist to see what exactly was going wrong with my body. They confirmed that POF (Premature Ovarian Failure) was the cause for my non-existant periods and my other symptoms. The doctor ordered another blood test, again without authorization, to find out if the condition was caused by molecular level. Thankfully, the results were negative.

It was shortly after this that I got the complete bills from my first tests at the OBGYN. My insurance claims that the POF diagnosis was a “pre-existing condition” and would not cover it. Of course, it was more than we can afford. Of course, it is not a pre-existing condition, so of course, we fought it. They reviewed the matter and found that I had not been to see the doctor for anything relating to this condition for 6 months prior to the hire date, and they opted to pay 70%, still leaving us to pay approx $208 for the lab fees.

Recently, and what you may not know about, they sent us a bill for the complete lab and doctor’s visit to the Fertility Clinic. The total came to somewhere in the $700+ range. I called the insurance company to have them explain why none of this was covered, since I was referred to see them for the same condition that I was seeing the OBGYN. They explained that tests were considered “major” and therefore needed authorization from them before proceeding. I had the option to send the matter to get authorization. “Yes, send it! I should not have to pay for this when a good 20% of what we make goes to your insurance company every month!” I yelled to the representative on the phone.

Yesterday, I received notice from dear old Altuis Health Insurance, my good friend (sarcasm). They informed me that they declined authorization and that the “molecular labs take at the Fertility Clinic were not a necessary treatment, and therefore not covered under our insurance”. I have the option at this point to appeal that decision. Of course, I will.

It is not a wonder to me anymore how many Americans are now going the route of not getting health insurance. Why pay so much a month to a company that doesn’t do it’s part when you need them most? Had we saved the money ourselves and told the doctor that we don’t have insurance, they would have billed me for a lot less and I could have paid it myself. Health-care reform needed? Yes, but who is going to really know what it will take to fix it? If I had it to do all over again: I still would have gotten the diagnosis and treatment recommended by my doctor, because not knowing what was going on with my body was surely killing me. At the same time, how heartless are these insurance companies that they can undermine the disaster that this whole process has been for me personally?