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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.

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.

Last Post cont. . .

As I read through my last post  again and I  wanted to add a few more comments. While I am feeling my situation is depressing, I myself am resilient. I have support from so many good friends, and I want them to know that I have not lost hope.

In my last post: I relayed the history of my marriage in terms of when we thought the appropriate time to have children would be. We put off thinking about the subject until we felt we were in the next phase (and the next phase, and the next phase) not just because we thought we weren’t ready, but because each phase was in-itself a step toward being ready. The hardest part about infertility was not that we had been putting it off, but that we had spent all these years working toward it. To be at this point in our lives, and find out that we may never have our own children, it is hard not to feel like: What was the point of all of this? What is the purpose of my life now? I worked so hard for something that may not be possible anyway! So I am in a new transition point where I need to find another purpose to my life that may or may not include raising children. I know a lot of other women facing infertility are feeling this way and I have found some links that I would like to share.

My local news station recently put out a story about infertility: http://studio5.ksl.com/?nid=54&sid=10736966

USA today has an article about POI, which happens to be my condition specifically: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-05-10-OVARIAN10_ST_N.htm