Well, we’re knee deep in alcohol wipes and two kinds of needles and side effects up the wazoo. Over these next three weeks, things will get more intense. And if it works? It’s just the beginning.
Hot Hot Hot
Three weeks into my morning Lupron subcutaneous tummy injections, it’s been a combo of hot flashes and the occasional bout of nausea. Unfair to have menopausal symptoms when the ultimate goal is pregnancy, wouldn’t you agree? But I gotta say, this part of the regimen hasn’t been too bad. The needles are so teeny weeny and my hubby is so gentle and efficient, that I know these last 9 days will be a breeze (no pun intended).
Wait, it gets better!
This week we started the infamous booty shots. Nope, no tequila being balanced on my bum by my hubby, but rather something much more glorious: 1 1/2″ needles in the bum of Delestrogen. To be more specific, in the “upper right quadrant”, every 3 days til we get the pregnancy blood test (beta) to find out if the embryo has implanted. It’s all about getting my uterine lining ready. Again I am soooo insanely grateful for my husband. I mean, he’s a kickass partner anyhow, but as I told him, if I had to do this myself, well we’d just be waiting for the adoption agency to finish it’s work.
After going online too many times to read advice that contradicted each other (stand up. sit down. ice it. heat it. blah blah blah), I used a heating pad beforehand and had a cup of tea to relax me and my booty – I’d really worked myself up for the pain. Laid down on my side, curled up, and took some yoga breaths and…it was over just like that. Easy peasy!
Next day…ugh. We went to my hubby’s cooking class and minutes into it the nausea, cold sweats, hot flashes, and dizziness arrived. Perfect timing for the strong and ordinarily awesome smells of Persian spices! I had to leave him less than an hour into it and pedal home to a cup of ginger tea. Still, it hasn’t subsided 😦
Knowing Where to Turn
The past couple of years I’ve watched an evolution occur in my life. Not the getting married thing. Not the starting a family thing. It’s the friend thing. In my life there seems to be a shift that occurs every few years where I learn more about who is and isn’t going to be there when the going gets tough. Things happen. Priorities change. And sometimes we think of certain people as closer to us than they think of us. And other times we ask for what we want out loud, and find out that some just can’t (or don’t want to) give us what we need. Either way, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Yesterday I talked with a girlfriend who’s a new mama of 5 weeks. A long, luxurious, uninterrupted conversation that she made time for, both to tell me all about her experience as a new mama (and unlike the grumblers I see on a lot of social media about people being mad at their friends getting pregnant, I think this is beautiful and full of hope!), and to check in on me to see how I have been dealing with my own fertility challenges.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve received several beautiful emails from dear friends who, while I don’t get to see them as much as I would like, have reached out over email to tell me how they are thinking of me and support me so much through thick and thin. My husband’s stepmother, who we now call Mum (she’s exactly what I’ve always wanted in a MiL, yay!), is full of kind words of support. And I find out, the more I am open about what we are doing, the more people we barely know are showing empathy and understanding.
But I always know this: my rock is the man I fall asleep next to every night, and wake up to every morning. He knows when I self-sabotage with food during the lonely evenings when he has the late shift – and doesn’t judge me. He hugs me harder when I beat up on myself. He is my best listener when I talk about the minutia of my workday. He is my biggest cheerleader when I need it – and those many times when I don’t realize how much I need it. I always know he’s the one who matters most. And I am grateful.
Finding My Own Way to Motherhood
One of the interesting things about all this time it’s taking to start our family is how much meditation you end up doing on what it means to be a mother, how you’ll mother your child(ren), and how you want to prepare over the months it takes – in your belly or via paperwork across the globe.
This weekend, instead of madly googling “delestrogen side effects”, I’m breathing in the prospect of myself as a mama. I’m thinking of ways that I want to celebrate this new chapter with my husband in ways that he and I will appreciate more than the typical, commercial version of parenthood.
We know we want a home birth, and we have had a short list (with a favorite on that list) for our midwifery since we started trying 9+ months ago. I know I want a doula, that’s for sure. And we know that the idea of a traditional baby shower is a bit frightening. In traditional society, showers are all about the fetus and very little about the parents. Sure, gifts are rad, don’t get me wrong, but this is a pretty damn big deal for us grownups to be dealing with.
Which is when I realized, this reminds me a lot of my blog series, The Green Wedding Chronicles, where Dan & I created our own unique, simple, green way of celebrating our joining lives. So I’m starting to do my homework on what kinds of rituals, practices, and non-traditions we might want to consider when that test comes out positive and when that referral from Ethiopia comes our way.
Mother Blessings, paying tribute to the Navajo Blessingway ceremony, “help the woman to prepare herself for the birth, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, for the all important role of a new mother.”
Seems nice. BUT…while I love the idea of celebrating my role, it seems to again make motherhood primary and fatherhood secondary, and I don’t want to honestly celebrate this separate from my husband. This is big for both of us!!!!! I am so creeped out by all the magazines, blogs, websites, etc. all directed towards the mother. No wonder our society puts so little accountability on the father to be a 100% parent rather than just a breadwinner.
And when I looked up the male version of a blessingway, I found “father rising” ritual which immediately made me nauseous as it had that same faux-tribal bullshit feel of the Mankind Project cult who did so much damage to my husband last year.
So I looked up “baby showers with both parents” and one site actually said “don’t bring up stories involving pregnancy, labor or diapers – it will send the guys running to the basement.” Are you fucking kidding me? As if somehow men are now these poor little weak creatures who can’t and shouldn’t be part of all that “women’s business”.
Here’s the deal: I’m 41 years old and have never changed a diaper in my life. Nope. Never babysat growing up – always chose yardwork, cleaning, and office help over screaming poopy kids – hell I was 12 years old, why should I WANT to do the work of a parent? (Nope, I wasn’t surrounded with a lot of dolls – a couple Barbies and a Cabbage Patch kid only because the other kids had ’em…once I got them they were relegated to a back corner while the stuffed animals got all the glory). Extraordinarily rare were boys babysitting as teenagers – after all, they were taught that was what girls did, because babysitting was seen as demeaning for their gender. I never had any desire to “learn” on friends’ kids either – it’s their kid, they can do it, and if I want to do it, by golly I’ll figure it out when I have my own.
Then there’s my husband, who worked for 16 years in disability services, running a home for adults with severe developmental disabilities. And with that? He’s changed a lot of diapers. Yep, adult diapers. So when folks stereotype men as these bumbling, out-of-touch, disassociated “providers” (instead of giving them the same expectations as mothers are as parents)? My husband is not the one pictured. He gets a kick out of babies and toddlers and teenagers and everything in between. He’s jealous that he’ll have to go off to work while I am at home with the kiddo (because I run my business from home – I am NOT giving up my business, hell no). He’s what a dad and a husband should be, as far as I’m concerned 🙂
Third Time’s a Charm!
This past week we had our THIRD set of fingerprints done this year, this one for our I-600a processing (i.e., international adoption preapproval so our agency can send our paperwork to Ethiopia). Yes, ya gotta love that Oregon DHS doesn’t communicate with the Oregon State Police, and neither of them have a line to the FBI, because we have been fingerprinted for all of them now. Woo hoo! (And they wonder why the bad guys don’t get caught). But hey, at least this last set was fairly quick (compared to the old school ink ones I had done for OSP), and the USCIS lady was super nice.
So, if all goes as per their estimated processing time, we should get our approval by the end of next month and our paperwork mailed off by the start of the holiday season!! While there have been a lot of hoops to jump through, these first stages have been relatively easy, and with lots of little things to check off, it feels like wheels are turning. Once everything crosses the ocean and the real wait begins? That will be what I know will make us a little bit batty, because there’ll be nothing whatsoever to do but focus on other things.
“Why Don’t You Adopt?” and the Mega Freak-out Responses to this Question
I gotta be honest, it’s really hard for me to hear people actually get angry when they are dealing with infertility for years and say they hatae this question. While I’m not trying to shove adoption down people’s throats, I am going to call people out who claim they are just DYING to be parents, yet try for years and years and refuse to consider adoption. I remember ten years ago my half-sister getting the injections (unsuccessfully) and when I asked her about adoption, she snarled, “I don’t want no China baby!” It was just strange to me, someone saying how badly they want to be a parent, yet choosing to go without ever having a family simply because they don’t share your DNA or because you didn’t get to be pregnant? Seriously? Yes, that pisses some women (and men) off, but here’s the thing my husband and I say. Do you want to be a parent or do you just want to be pregnant? Because if you want to be a PARENT, you’ll allow your preconceived notions to disintegrate, no matter how hard it is, and be open to the many ways there are to become a mother.
- Some say “oh it’s so expensive”. First of all, my DE-IVF is literally the same cost, neither covered by insurance (both however eligible for tax deductions), and my odds are much better with my adoption agency. Second, going through DHS to adopt a waiting child is free.
- Some say “oh it can take years”. And you’ve been trying to get pregnant for how long? Some adoptions take longer but it’s primarily because people are looking for babies, or even pregnant mothers. Adopting older children can take just a few months.
- Some say “oh it’s not going to look like me/us.” Really? That’s why you want to have a baby, so you can have a clone? I grew up in a family where my older siblings were from my mother’s first marriage to a man of Norwegian descent. Yep, they had blond hair and blue eyes and cheekbones, while I had brown hair, hazel eyes, and a round face. I didn’t see anyone who I felt I resembled until I was 23 and met my cousin for the first time (who, ironically, had been given up for adoption by my aunt as a baby).
And yes, I *totally* get wanting to make a baby! I’ve grieved this loss myself, quite intensely trust me!! One thing I knew along the way, however, was that I did not want to make a super long part of life together all about injections and test tubes and all the emotional drama that comes with it. Our lives are too short, and we want to build this family sooner rather than later. I know myself, and when I have to make a decision this big, it’s going to be one that will give me what I need in the healthiest way possible.
So don’t send me “baby dust” or “sticky vibes”. We’re going to see if science can lend a hand and if it can’t, so be it. Because no matter what, we’ve got our little girl out there halfway across the world, who will soon claim us for her mama and daddy. And she’s gonna be ours just as much as if she’d been made from my eggs or in a test tube downtown. We gots the love, y’all.
“There are times when the adoption process is exhausting and painful and makes you want to scream. But, I am told, so does childbirth.”
~ Scott Simon