Give Me Patience

I’m not a religious person, but since I have been raised in the Bible belt, I know a thing or two about religion.  In fact, I just took those Pew research surveys that were all the rage last week on Fac.ebook and got a 100% on the religion quiz.

Anywho, as I am not a religious person, I’ve not been inducted into formalized praying, you know night time prayers and praying for sick folks.  My family is more of the “my thoughts are with you” and lemme-bring-you-a-casserole persuasion.  That being said, all day today, I’ve been thinking, “oh, please give me patience.  Let me be able to wait for the right child to come into my life.  Patience, yeah.  I need a little patience,” which is the closest I ever come to praying. Seriously, that thought or one like it has been on a loop, in the back of my head, ever since I got an email from my counselor today.

See, we went on AdoptUsKids and looked at some of the kids there.  I wrote my counselor to ask about them, and she wrote back, really quickly, with details.  None, not one, of those kids is a good fit for our family (we have other kids and two, small, sweet doggies).  My counselor, who is a sweet, sweet person, reminded me, kindly, to be patient.

So, I’m trying.

BTW, if you want to see some funny/disturbing stuff, “Give Me Patience.”  Most of the image results show images of little pictures like this one:

A Plague on (my) House

This week, starting tomorrow, I’ll be teaching Romeo + Juliet, the modern film version with Leo Decaprio and Claire Danes.  The most memorable and excellent character from this production is Mercutio, played by Harold Perrineau, who really, really gets it when he is cursing Romeo and Tybalt, casting a “plague on both their houses.”

I think this is interesting timing because, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that I had been similarly cursed.  In the past two months, I’ve had a flu-like illness, followed up by either the worse bronchitis of my life or walking pneumonia. Now, I have a red, itchy and uncomfortable rash on my face and neck, which has been so un-helpfully diagnosed by an Urgent Care doc, who didn’t even talk to me before prescribing medication (steroid shot, oral prednisone) as contact dermatitis. Since I haven’t changed soaps and I don’t wear makeup, I’m not sure what I “contacted” that only touched my face.  And, so far, I’m not any better than I was on Saturday when I went to the doctor in the first place.  My derm’s office said to give the steroids a few more days.

And, today, I came home to find my sweet little dog with disgusting bloody diarrhea, again from unknown causes, that I have to treat with pepto bismal and denying food and water.

I realize NONE of these are a big deal, and that I should be thankful that these are all, in the grand scheme of things, at the most, minor inconveniences, but damn, I just feel beleaguered today.

I wish I really, really didn’t…

So, I just read an article on Slate about a break-up and the differences between men and women who want kids.  You can read/listen yourself, but I do have some responses to the article and the video:

  • I was really jealous of the lady for DECIDING she doesn’t want kids.  How crazy is that?  I watched her say, “I really really don’t” (and I believe her) and thought, “Oh, I so wish I felt that way.” I don’t know if that’s a healthy or unhealthy response, but that was what I felt.  It’d be so, so much easier (and CHEAPER!) to just not want kids.  Then, bam, 3 years of my life… back from the abyss of infertility.
  • Secondly, wha? Only46% of women between ages of 21 and 34 want kids?  What?  That statistic seems so inherently wrong to me.  I am just recently out of that category, but I can only think of one person  in that category (not wanting kids) that I know.  I have 2 friends (one age 35 and one 37) who don’t have kids — one is a lesbian and her partner is much younger (28? 29?) and in grad school, so they’re waiting, and the other is still single and wants to adopt when she gets married. So, is my experience THAT skewed?  The friend I have who doesn’t want kids has never wanted them.  Her mom had 6 (yes SIX) miscarriages before she was born, and she was born premature after her mom had been on bedrest for 20 weeks.  So, I think she just decided at a young age not to go through any of that.  Plus, she likes to travel and has one of those very controlled, scheduled lives that you can’t have with kids.  Other than that, every single women I know either has kids or wants to have them.

Lost in No-(Child) Land

So, lately, I’ve felt pretty weird about blogging/reading blogs.  Today, while rolling through my Reader, I realized why.

Everyone else is:

  • Trying to get pregnant
  • Pregnant
  • Mourning a loss of a pregnancy
  • Talking about kids they already have

I’m in no-child land.  We’re not trying to get pregnant.  In fact, I’m giving my stupid, failure of a body (in the sense of its baby-making and not being good at regulating its immune function) one more month of regular sleep, less caffeine, more green tea, healthy food, and exercise, and then I’m going on BCP so I can start ANOTHER immune suppressor if it’s not behaving itself.

So, we’re not trying to get pregnant.  And, the adoption stuff is just one piece of paper and one appointment after another.  Yeah, we’re rocking through those, but they don’t feel like a child is happening. I have no connection of signing a contract saying I won’t shake a baby (yes, we have to do that.  Is that part of giving birth at a hospital?  If not, why not?  Why isn’t that like a given?  I hate that there’s a need at all to tell people not to shake babies) to an actual baby (or in my case, a child).

For me, there are no lines on sticks.  There are no doctors appointments. There are no ultrasound pictures.  There are no heart beats. There are no waiting for a gender scan appointments.

It kind of feels like nothing.

I don’t know that I necessarily feel like something’s missing from my own life.  It’s more like I’m just really aware of what others have in theirs.  It’s like I’m in limbo to re-join some conversation that I can hear, but not participate in.

Tell Me More

I’m going to go out on (a very close to the ground and safe) limb and say that I think if you’re reading my blog, you probably like Michel Martin and her show Tell Me More.  If you don’t know Tell Me More, go listen, ’cause again, I’m pretty sure you’ll like her and her show.

Yesterday, she featured a discussion with 3 women who have breast cancer.  One of the women, Ann Siberman, has terminal cancer (and she has a blog).  Her son is 15, and she’s just hoping that she can make it to his high school graduation.  She talked about how in life nothing is guaranteed and that she’s living, but also grieving, grieving those moments she’ll never have, like being there for her son’s wedding or the birth of her grandchildren.

At the end of the show, she gave some advice to women who have just being diagnosed and told them that her story would likely not be theirs and that they should have hope. And, she urges them that once they’ve been healed to move on.  I’m including her words here:

Well, I want to talk to newly diagnosed women. I know that you’re all afraid that you’re going to end up like me, stage IV. But you have to realize that 80 percent don’t. And I want you to give yourself permission once your treatment is over, to believe that you’ve been healed and move on.So many women live breast cancer years after their treatment is over, and I really don’t think that’s mentally healthy or emotionally healthy. I think that to become a true survivor you have to move on from this experience. You know, our attitude is everything. All the worry in the world you do today does not affect anything. It just makes you lose today. Whatever happens happens. So try to enjoy every single day you have, because they’re all beautiful, there’s something funny in every single one of them. And I would highly encourage everybody, whether you’ve had cancer or not, to try to live their life that way.

Oh, wow, I can’t even type or read that without starting to cry.  In our world, of infertility and infant loss, I see so many people who need to take this advice to heart, including me.  I want to tell all the women who are just starting and worrying about their chances: most women won’t be me (in that very small percentage who can’t ever get pregnant).  I want to say to them, “you won’t be someone who can never get pregnant, who will spend thousands (tens of thousands) on treatment to never even make it to two pink lines.”  After time and heartache, you’ll get pregnant and you’ll have a baby, and you should move on from that experience.  You don’t have to grieve that loss forever.

AdoptionThe sad news for me, I guess, is that I will always have to live it.  I’m excited about moving forward with adoption and I’ve stayed mostly focused on the happiness that I will have through my motherhood down that path.  I saw an adoption quote the other day: adoption is when a child grows in Mommy’s heart instead of her tummy.  My heart is open and ready and full of love for these children.  But, oh, I still grieve those embryos that didn’t grow in my tummy.  I still feel such heartache for my loss.

I know that I’m not experiencing what those women with breast cancer are, have or will, but I do think that we all share some common needs and goals.  And, while I want to reassure those women with new diagnosis, I still want to be mad that I have to be part of that small percentage who won’t get pregnant, who barely received any insurance coverage, and who gets no walks, no pink bracelets, no pink ribbons, but still feels an acute and aching loss:

Infertility is not cancer. But it is debilitating. And some activists argue that infertility desperately needs the kind of awareness effort that helped bring cancer out of the shadows two decades ago. Breast cancer has its pink ribbon. AIDS has its walks, multiple sclerosis its bike-a-thons. Resolve does sponsor an awards gala honoring achievement in the field, but it draws primarily doctors and other professionals from the infertility world, not patients, and most important, it raises no money. Complains one Resolve member who walked out of last year’s event, “Everyone gets up and tells their success stories. Infertility treatment isn’t always about success. And that’s the problem with how infertility is being handled; as with any other disease, some people won’t be cured. That’s why it needs more recognition and funding, so people can get help. But no one wants to recognize the failure.”

But, I’m going to go back to those words of Ann Siberman and remember that every day is beautiful and every day has something funny it.  Today, on my list of beautiful and funny: the Daily Show episode I missed last night, time with my dogs, some relaxation, catching up blogs, and dinner with my sweet man.


(Non)Parenting Class

First, I’d like to say that I’m thinking of all of you who have been affected by infant loss today since it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  I have never seen a positive on a pregnancy test, but with each of my IVFs, when I knew that I had potential babies inside of me, the negative tests felt like a loss to me.  I feel so sad for all of us who have had to deal with that loss in any form. The only comfort I find is in finding ways to make the world around me just a bit brighter when I can. I hope that you all will find a way to seek and offer comfort today.


Now for the  miniature rant:

Okay, so to adopt through the state, you have to become licensed as a foster parent first. I don’t know why.  But, you do.  Part of that licensing includes going to this class that supposed to teach you about the realities of fostering and adopting through foster care.

It turned out to be, instead, a parenting class. Except that it was an example of exactly the kind of parent I don’t want to be. I can’t go into all the wacky things that were said, but it was over-the-top religious themed (lots of God touching hearts and praying back and forth and God talking to people).  I don’t mind religion, per se, but I do mind when it covers for real, honest discussion and language.  The homophobia was palpable, which was ironic because there were two women (not together) in the class who seemed pretty clearly to be lesbians.  The sexism was awful — sometimes I have no idea how men make it through a day, since, according to some members of this group, the men wouldn’t even be capable of picking up the adoptive baby.   And, much of the advice was just completely backwards from the way that I think.  I can’t imagine parenting the way that these people were talking about parenting (over half the class already has children).

All in all, I guess I left with some information, and so, so much heartbreak.  What kind of world is it that we live in where people can be so damned awful to their children?  If this all works out, I’m really struggling with explaining that.