Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our adoption story: The best laid plans

I wish I had endless amounts of time. Don't we all? :) Enough time to get all the housework done, all the dangling projects completed, meal prep, laundry, exercise, running errands... and still have some leftover for "extras," like blogging.

Since I don't have endless amounts of time at my disposal, and since I don't want to spend great amounts of the time I do have staring at a computer screen, I'm going to break down pieces of our adoption story to retell. It goes without saying that some things are non-blog material, and still other things just aren't worth the time -- yours in reading, mine in writing -- to record. But, I hope that I can tell enough to paint an accurate picture. Sound good?

To preface the adoption side of the story, I should first address the infertility side of the story, since that is what first landed us in an adoption agency in the fall of 2006.

In the spring/early summer of 2005, Mr. Incredible and I decided we were ready to start our family. We had the house. We had the dog. The next step? Babies, of course. :) I'd been ready for this step since I was ten; he was finally ready to indulge me. I felt like I'd waited my whole life to be a mommy, and I wanted to shout to the rooftops that I was finally at the threshold! What joy and excitement this would bring our families!

Mr. Incredible wisely urged me to remain silent about our plans until we had something to tell... in other words, a positive pregnancy test. Okay, I thought, a little disappointed. But I quickly got over that need to tell and fully enjoyed the "secrecy" of our plans. I felt like we had this wonderful, special, exciting secret (non-news, really). And besides, I could stay quiet for a couple months, right? Because surely it wouldn't take longer than that. We'd be making our announcement by Thanksgiving. Christmas at the latest.

Oh, those best laid plans. :)

For the first three months or so, I was completely relaxed about the whole thing, which is funny to me now because "relaxed" is hardly the word I would use to describe myself in most situations! :) However, I just wasn't worked up about it. When I still wasn't pregnant in October (our fourth cycle trying, if I remember correctly), I took up charting my temperature, but just casually. By November though, I became religious about it. I kept my thermometer on my bedside table, and would set my alarm for the same time each day to check it, even if I wasn't planning to get up yet. Then, I'd recorded all the temps in an online calendar I'd found, watching it desperately for my temps to creep up, up, up... only for them to come crashing down a day or two before my period inevitably arrived.

What was happening? Why was this taking so long? I was supposed to be making a pregnancy announcement by the holidays. I'd selected (and purchased) meaningful "grandmother" Willow Tree figures for each of our moms, and this would be how we would give them the news. And now they just sat in a cabinet mocking me, hidden behind any mish-mash of items to conceal them from others, but also from myself. I didn't want to look at them or be reminded of what I perceived to be my "failure."

By February 2006, I was ready to lose my mind. I made an appointment with my OBGYN to ask him what the heck was up with my body. No testing at this appointment, just a plea to relax and let it happen naturally. He ordered me to stop charting, because he could see it was making me a crazy person, and was likely hindering rather than helping by this point. He explained that it's a vicious cycle... with every passing month, I got more anxious and less relaxed, meaning my body wasn't as "able" to conceive as naturally. He encouraged me that conception would be very likely on our upcoming Alaskan cruise, scheduled for June, and that he had no doubts in his mind that I'd be returning from that trip with a little extra "souvenir." I really did feel so much better after talking with him that day. I just felt like I could put my fears at ease, because if anyone knew what he was talking about, a doctor certainly would.

The next few months came and went, and off we flew to the Pacific Northwest for a memorable trip. If I'd had doubts about conceiving on that trip, they were only more confirmed by how seasick I felt for most of the trip. I couldn't have brought home that "souvenir" even if I'd wanted to. :)

The bottom line was that I was still not pregnant, and now we had been trying for more than a year. I could not believe it. I never would have thought we'd have still been without a baby by this point in our life.

Summer 2006 was primarily occupied with fertility testing and doctor's appointments. Initial bloodwork came back fine for me, and my next scheduled test was an HSG, which I was completely horrified by. I'd heard it was an invasive, painful test, and could lead to a significant amount of cramping even afterwards. I dreaded that test with every fiber of my being, but what made me even more concerned was what would happen between my bloodwork tests and the possible HSG: sperm analysis.

This falls under the "not worth the time" category (because it's gross, and private, and did I say gross?), but I'll summarize this part of the story by saying we had a winner! Or a loser? I'm not sure which. :)

Due to some complications going back to his birth and toddlerhood (again, I look back and can't believe this sincerely NEVER occurred to me as a possible problem in the midst of it), we were given two options -- IVF or adoption.

I remember the moment those words came out of the doctor's mouth. I remember we were sitting in a white, sterile, tiny room on metal exam chairs, and that it was the least possible environment of comfort. I remember a vision in my mind's eye of a young girl with soft, blonde ringlets pulled back in pigtails, skipping off to a tree swing, laughing with a beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. And I remember feeling that girl had been taken from me in that moment, in that exam room. I remember the doctor could barely offer me a tissue, let alone a sliver of hope to hang my dreams on.

He left the room, and I was relieved to see him go. I can understand now, all this time later, that he was just doing his job, and that this was the hard part of his duties. But he didn't have much in the way of a bedside manner, and all I wanted to do was cry and scream... and that's what I did. I wailed and sobbed and gasped for air. I knew patients in other exam rooms, nurses, doctors, and anyone nearby could hear me, but I didn't care. Mr. Incredible held me tight and stroked my hair, allowing me to only begin the grieving process.


  1. Great post! I'm looking forward to the next part! :-)

  2. Our beginning journey is very much the same. After reading your beginning I could very much remember my thoughts going through the same thing. I also am looking forward to the next post.