“Don’t look back- you’re not going that way.” – Desmond Tutu
These days I’m now looking at this 6th DEIVF as being in the home stretch. Knowing whether we will be bringing a child into this world via pregnancy will finally be resolved and done with. It’s our last round, and I couldn’t be more serious about this being our last IT. Sure, after this we technically have 4 sub-par embryos on ice left, but this round will mark the end of 2+ highly condensed years of solid, no-vacation-from-it-all treatments and we are fucking DONE with it all. Those last four will be donated to science and left at that.
The other night I went into the ugly cry thinking about how I will possibly recover if this sixth and final round of DEIVF, something we were told had an 80% chance of working with 2 embryos and 50% with one-at-a-time (we’ve tried 3 rounds of 1 each and this will be our 3rd round of transferring 2 each) back when we went down this road. I started keeping one of those 5 year diaries in January 2015 and now look back at prior years and see my heartache going back all the way to the beginning. And I’m sick and tired of unhappiness.
You hear me, world?! I’m sick and tired of depression and anxiety and fucking hating and blaming myself for this condition. I’m tired of this infection that has seeped its way into me that tells me I will not be defined if I do not get pregnant, and the pressure of the assholes who say shit like “Never give up ! I knew someone who went through 12 rounds and it finally worked!”
And it’s not just a money thing. Sure, we want to save for retirement, but even more, we want to live with hope and enjoy each other’s company without every hour, day, week, month dependent on when I’ll be getting booty shots or preparing for such. We want to remember what it’s like to live with me experiencing even-keeled hormones and my husband not continually feeling like my extreme emotional caretaker. We want to be married and ENJOY each other, and if it doesn’t include a baby, we’ll have to get used to it. We lived this many years without it, we can find a new way of looking at the world and a new approach to this hole that has widened like a massive crater in our hearts.
This is not to say we’re not thinking positively for the transfer in April, not at all. But anyone who’s done it this many times knows the value of being realistic and not looking through the lens with blissful ignorance. Been there, done that. Watching people who got pregnant at the same time that I did last year , both on the blogs and in real life, now getting ready to have their babies. Trying not to think about the fact that our due date of March 10th is going to hit us like a hurricane that day. And focusing on what’s to come while acknowledging this road.
Everything but the kitchen sink (i.e., Zen to the MAX)
So my husband and I agreed that after all we’ve been through, self care will be even bigger than it has been in the past. Super Duper Zen to the Max, y’all. While I’ve always had monthly massages, I’m going to have them weekly along with my acupuncture, PT, and chiro, and go to see my esthetician for the World’s Most Relaxing Facial with Reiki the week before, and a pure Reiki appointment with her the morning of transfer day, something that in cycles 4 and 5 I started doing that set me up for a “floating on a cloud” vibe as we drove down to the doctor’s office, with the Valium/Vicodin as the icing on the cake. Yeah, baby, I’m going to live like a bougie celeb for this final cycle. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely.
And yes, husband is not without pampering – he’ll be getting a massage as well as some other nice mellow-out treats.
Along with this, meditation, eating whole, warm foods, positive visualization, and living fearlessly and optimistically will be our mantras. In looking back at my blog posts from last June where we got pregnant, it was by FAR the most focused and chill we ever were these past 2+ years. And whether or not this has any bearing on the results, it WILL help US. That’s what matters most.
And Now, Time to Vent
Last week we went to a domestic adoption “training” which was required by the (what seemed to be) best looking, most inclusive local agency, and it was NOT a training. The first day we had full hearts as we went around the class of 12 and every single couple had either dealt with multiple miscarriages or IVFs. Only one had a kid and it was from IVF and they didn’t want to go through that stress again. There were hugs during the break – one woman had caught my eye as I stood up and shared our story of failed rounds and miscarriage, and my tears came out…turns out she’s dealt with it as well and is – get this – a nurse midwife. What a fucking day every day that must be for her. I am thankful for small things like working from home where I can literally hide from big bellies and cute children much of the time. Her strength humbled me. That all being said, they did not ACTUALLY address what it meant to move to adoption after infertility – it was just a round-robin discussion of what we’d been through, and never acknowledged the fact that adoption is NOT a cure for infertility, nor how this grief would continue even with adoption, that there is no timeline for these losses we’ve experienced.
And the rest of it was shit.
We were all for open adoption in the context that you meet the birth mother and she picks you from a book of parent profiles. All cool, so we can tell our kiddo about meeting his/her birth mother and have the option later if they want to connect. But that’s not how this agency works. Instead, you are *contractually obligated* to have visitations on a regular basis with the birth parent(s). They brought in a birth mother who actually goes on vacation with the adoptive parents, using her as their sales technique. She was a cool birth mother, and someone I could see being friends with, but that wouldn’t mean I’d want to spend 2 week vacations with her. Hell, my husband is the only person I would want to vacation with. They basically implied that you were bringing on another family member – or as I called it in my head, sister-wife. While they claimed “this is not co-parenting”, everything they communicated to us was to the contrary.
You see, I’m all for the OPTION of doing these things, but not for being pressured or contractually obligated to do this stuff. One of them was that you should “come up with a name for the baby with the birth parent” – which to me was, hell fucking no. While that’s so cool if some folks feel that vibe, that should never be pressured onto the adoptive parent. And along with that, the birth mother gets to name the kid whatever she wants on the birth certificate, the one that gets sealed, as if she had never really given the baby up for adoption before the birth. The real zinger then came when they said the adoptive parents had no choice of whether they can be in the delivery room with the birth mother, even though you meet her early on in the 3rd trimester. Now I can understand not “catching” the baby but hell, not being able to immediately hold the baby after it’s born, that my husband (and I) could be forced to wait outside while the birth mother and her family welcome this child of ours into the world? Honestly, if it’s that way I’d rather do a closed adoption where we pick up the baby the next day from a representative. And I gotta say, this is where the money does come up, because it is $30-35,000 to adopt domestically, PLUS medical bills in the 3rd trimester.
Oh and this “training” was actually almost 100% just a deeper explanation of their processes and contracts, something they could have done in a free webinar online or in a PDF on the website – it was NOT training. You see, we went through a real training for Ethiopia, 10 hours where they actually talked about parenting an adopted child, and the things we all want help with. That’s why we went to this, because we thought, well no matter what we’ll at least get some good training, right? Let’s just say at the beginning of Day Two, they had their marketing director come in and talk for – I shit you not – 30+ minutes about their marketing plan, from why they choose certain colors on their website to their SEO/SEM strategy, going into what Google Adwords they use. Really? My husband just looked at me, equally dumbfounded that we were paying $500 to hear about web design and marketing tools.
The icing on the cake, however, was on the second morning, they brought in two adoptive mothers. (Did I mention none of the speakers included fathers? Again with the mother-as-primary-parent stereotype that drives me up the fucking wall.) The first one was a bit older like Dan & I, and had been through multiple miscarriages so there was something in common there as well, but the second one walked in there – WITH HER BABY ON HER LAP for the whole 30 minutes – and talked about how she was fertile, just didn’t want to have a baby with “all the kids who needed homes” and that she could “understand what those who were infertile might be going through”. Fuck you fuck you fuck you!!! She was talking to 12 infertile couples – did no one at the agency have even an iota of sensitivity towards the prospective adoptive parents in the room? Talk about triggers. As my husband said, it felt like she was throwing it all in our faces, including the cute fat-faced baby that seemed to want to follow my gaze the entire time. Oh and the fact that the birth father is in prison and has tried to make their life hell claiming he never gave permission? Um, yeah.
And as the final straw, with my herniated disc I had to stand up during these trainings because of my back, and had let them know that in advance. I survived the first half day and went home and slept hard after the stiffness (nowhere to lay down on breaks, you see, so pressure was constant on my lower back), but on day two, I was in excruciating pain by mid-morning, and while I was pacing a bit in the back of the class, that day’s “instructor” was giving me weird looks for standing up. Ironically, two other people had bad backs and would occasionally stand, but I seemed to be her favorite. [She also really did not like that I asked if the adoptive parents have any influence over where the birth mother has her baby (i.e., if we paid for a more relaxing birth environment like a birth center for her so the baby could enter the world away from fluorescent hospital lights, for example), and she said that is not something we should even MENTION to the birth mother nor indicate in our profile as it’s “such a rare thing” (total lie, as it’s very popular here with multiple birthing centers outside of hospital environments) and would “decrease our odds at getting chosen”. What the fuck. I’m not trying to take away rights from the birth mother, just want to find someone who believes in that just like we do – just like how the birth mother on day one picked adoptive parents because they live on a farm and had goats. Oy.] Anyhow, so by the time the first half of the second day had arrived, my back pain was so excruciating that I was in tears, and I begged Dan to take me home.
So on our way home, he called and told them this as no one was available when lunch broke out, and asked if we could come and make up these last 4 hours in the March date, and she said “sorry we only have one space available”. Ironic because there are two big chairs and a sofa in the back of the room with plenty of standing room for me, but she refused. Then she said it was because we needed to attend together, and “listen to the information at the same time” – as if we were idiots that couldn’t hear the same information on different days. THEN after saying that she had the balls to ask my husband if he could just “drop me off and come back and finish the seminar by himself” – a) when she knew he was taking care of me, and b) when she had JUST said we couldn’t do these individually. My husband was super sharp in picking up this massive contradiction and said “I’ve told you already, this afternoon is not going to happen, and I’m calling you out because you just said we couldn’t make up the time individually then you’re asking me to drive back solo”. She said she would talk to her director and then call him right back.
Well that was a week ago. Not a single call or email, nothing. So yes, ladies and gentlemen, I sent her an email with a piece of my mind about how insensitive they were towards not only medical emergencies, but towards infertile couples in general, not to mention how this $500 was a moneymaker for them rather than a true training, and could have been on their website as there was no instruction going on, just 13 hours of explaining their processes.
So needless to say, we have put that behind us. If IVF doesn’t work and we do want to pursue domestic adoption, we’ll probably do this privately as we are sure as hell not going to be told how to parent or potentially subject our child to a birth parent who thinks they have the right to see our child whenever, even if that person is not good for the child. I would more than anything want an awesome birth mother, but that is not something that can be guaranteed.
And with that came a conversation with my cousin this week, who was given up for adoption by my aunt and connected with us back in 1997, starting a new relationship (I lived in the same city as her so we ended up hanging out a bit and bonding). I watched as my grandfather died in 2o08 and I invited her to come to the funeral and my aunt actually chewed me out for “not asking her permission” to bring her even though she bragged about being in touch with her. Fuck that shit. She is yet isn’t family? Fuck that shit. And then my cousin told me this week about all the mixed and negative messages she’d gotten from her since then, that she was told to have a nice life, and they are no longer on speaking terms. This is a grown woman – can you imagine if my cousin had to deal with my aunt as a little kid because of a “contractual obligation”? That’s exactly why I’m against forced visitation for adoption.
But that seminar is in the past, thank goodness. Now, we know what we want, what we don’t want, and what we will mull over versus what we refuse to negotiate on when it comes to becoming parents.
And with that we came to talking about our Ethiopia adoption. Even though it seems a lifetime until we finally get matched with a child, we had always had our paperwork specifying that we wanted a girl… which is one of the reasons why the wait is even longer. Turns out people want girls… an interesting comment about our society. Are girls somehow seen as easier and sweeter and less challenging, and boys seen as more troublesome or less worthy of being taken care of? They are definitely the ones who are the greater population in orphanages I have learned, and it breaks my heart to hear that. We cannot take care of our girls if we do not take care of our boys.
So there you go… it’s been a few days since my last post about all of this stuff so thanks to those who actually read this whole thing and for those who didn’t that’s fine too 🙂
Finish out this February already!!
“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you’re going to be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.” – from Moonlight