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Okay folks so I’ve been on a bit of a quiet spell since everything went to shit a month ago. I really needed time to just cogitate on everything outside of blogland, and with exception of a few select people, my husband and I haven’t discussed the future with, well, anyone.

The week the 6th DEIVF fail happened and Ethiopia suspended adoptions, I took every single pregnancy book to Goodwill. I packed up all the baby goods collected over the last two years, jammed them in a box and threw them all down in the basement. I drank whiskey with my husband, I emotional ate, I cried a lot and my temper was all over the fucking map. Along with that, I was also dealing with the fact that, with my back injury that, 6 months later, is only about 25% improved since it occurred 6 months ago, and means I cannot get out any angst through exercise…and that was really fucked up. No long bike rides, no long walks (walking for 30 straight minutes on a zero-incline road is a good day for me), no dancing, no gym, none of those things that work up a sweat and build up endorphins. I’ve spent the last month allowing my body to get back to pre-IVF hormone levels, while dealing with the 50 additional pounds that my body has packed onto it from the emotional and physical effects of 6 failed DEIVFs, a miscarriage, and a debilitating back injury.

And when my period arrived again, it confirmed that when the hormones of my monthly cycle get jacked up, it is sure to increase my back pain tenfold. Just like my flare-ups and minimal healing throughout this first half of 2017 because of 2 ERAs and the 6th DEIVF, my period means that I have to minimize my PT exercises and just…do very little, as the pain is like a stab in the lower back that never goes away and echoes down my right leg. Fucking shit, right?

Along with that, my RE called to ask us if we want to do another cycle with the two sub-par embryos that are still in their freezer, saying we shouldn’t just get rid of them and that we should “give them a chance” – as if they were children we were abandoning in a dumpster. My husband was pissed and I was just dumbfounded that the clinic would dare to pressure us after SIX failed donor egg IVFs…while offering – as usual – no analysis into why it didn’t work. I didn’t have it in me to bite anyone’s head off, which is probably good, and we just told him that we’re not thinking about anything this summer, as I need to get my back healed. And our “freezer rental” is good through late 2017 so, really, there is no rush.

I don’t want to do it anymore. Dan doesn’t want to do it anymore. But we’ll leave them in there because I don’t want to think about it. I need a healthy back, and that’s literally all I care about at this point in time. I need to take care of my body, and not jam any more hormones that will sidetrack my recovery. Period. And after everything we’ve gone through there, from not being offered PGS/PGD to having to ASK for a scratch, for ERA, for thyroid testing, nor any evaluation of why the miscarriage may have occurred, I think if I ever changed my mind and wanted to do it again, it’d be with a different donor at a clinic outside of Portland. I don’t trust anyone in this town, not after what I’ve seen, the apathy of other clinics (not just Dr Evil last year, but another one that a friend had recommended not once but twice not responding to my inquiries in 2016 and 2017).

But it doesn’t mean I’m magically healed.

Pregnant bellies can still go suck it.

I watch more IVF and DEIVF bloggers announce their pregnancies and click “unfollow”. I don’t have anything in common with them. Anyone who’s had so many multiple fails knows that if you’re honest with yourself, you root for them and then when it happens you rarely if ever want to hear about it – especially if your own chances are shot to shit. I used to follow blogs of successful IVF folks because it gave me hope that it might finally work for me, but honestly I can’t do that anymore. You see when you end the journey, you no longer see them as inspiration for your own, but rather a constant reminder that not everybody succeeds in the game of IVF. You can no longer read those blogs of those rookies just starting out in treatment, with their hope and vitamins and acupuncture. Even the ones whose struggles were on the donor egg side, the ones who made it have crossed the fence from being able to empathize with you to now merely sympathizing. Because when you cross over, even if you are incredibly battle weary, you still have a baby in your belly and I do not. My odds are a million to one, and I know that every time I put more hormones in my body I risk the rest of my body never fully healing from this injury… Not to mention my heart that still splits open into a thousand tears several times a week (and that’s a good week).

In version 1.0, we were actually worried we get pregnant before we were ready, as we’ve known enough people who were 40 who got pregnant no problem. In version 2.0 and 3.0, which occurred simultaneously, we went through two rounds of IUI and 6 rounds (9 embryos), and lost our only pregnancy at 9 weeks while simultaneously waiting for a referral for a little girl in Ethiopia that never came because the program was suspended.

My heart never told me that I would be okay simply not having children after all of this, however. A lot of people say you’ll simply know, and learn to accept. Well either my heart skipped this or it’s just not time to stop, and a couple of weeks ago we had a call with a domestic adoption agency who not only has an office in Oregon, but is not religious-based and does “semi-open” adoptions rather than full co-parenting style adoption with visitation agreements like the last Agency.

The director we’re working with firmly believes that 100% open adoptions often lead to a lot of angst on both sides, and that semi-open adoptions give the parents a chance to meet each other while not being changed to any type of contractual visitation, something that can be hard for one or both sides depending on what’s going on and depending on what the child wants. I’ve always wanted to meet the birth mother, and be able to tell my son or daughter about her, and keep the birth/first mother updated as to how our child is doing over the years. I just never want to be in a situation where there is any attempt at co-parenting, which, while many agencies will swear up and down is not what open adoption is, the many examples we witnessed definitely showed us that’s not always the case. I don’t want to have either side pressured to define the relationship before the baby has even been born. That can, and should, evolve more naturally.

There’s a fine line in adoptive parenting because you do need to respect how your child came into this world, and what he or she might be up against as they deal with loss. The more I read the stories of adoptees, the more I’ve learned how diverse their perspectives are as well. Some have no interest in meeting or having a relationship with the person who brought them into this world, some do and then have found great disappointment in that relationship, and yet others indeed do end up having a relationship with them. All things we cannot predict as prospective new parents…

It is a huge thing to prepare your heart and soul for when you go to adopt, because while it is parenting, it is apples and oranges compared to having a baby that came from your own combined genetics. This is why the oversimplified nature of the statement “just adopt” is so difficult for many of us to hear, because you are not going to the store and picking out a baby that is exclusively yours.

Having gone through donor egg IVF, I had to simply block the fact that there was a third party involved, but it was much easier because it was anonymous, and because the donor is literally doing this for you (not to mention for $5,000).  Adoption begins with loss, both for the first mother and for the child who grew in her womb. There will be questions you’ll want to be able to answer and so many things you’ll want to protect them but will have to walk through together.

I could go on but ultimately want to say that we have made the decision to go forward with domestic adoption. It will cost around $35,000 total, which is not money we have after spending over $60,000 on IVF and international adoption expenses that we will never get back. Approximately one-third of this expense has been charged to our credit card thus far, and so the pressure is really high on me to make a whole lot of money this year in my business to afford it without getting ourselves into financial trouble.

It’s nauseating to put it mildly, and my bag lady syndrome has been turned up to a very high volume.

But on a positive note, the average wait time is 6 to 12 months for a baby as they work in many states around the country. They focus on transracial adoption, which is what we were interested in from the beginning, and like I said earlier, they don’t jibber jabber about “God” or “saving” children with that condescending missionary vibe that so many adoption agencies are known for.

So (unlike it is for most folks kicking off the domestic adoption process) because we’ve been through the international adoption hurdles for the last two years, we had a current home study that we were able to get our International Adoption Agency to edit to reflect domestic adoption… which they so kindly did for free. That was great, saved a ton of time AND a few thousand dollars. We created our adoption profile book, which after going through so many unsuccessful rounds of IVF was an emotional clusterfuck (after the fertility gods have shit on you so many times, it’s hard on the heart to have to write up a letter about how we deserve to be parents), and that cost a whopping $500 to print (thanks to a friend who pointed us to the Mixbook website, as that was actually the cheapest version we found… beyond going to Kinko’s and photocopying a bunch of snapshots or doing something ridiculously amateur in Microsoft Word, heh). And after doing the normal paperwork, we got everything to them and the social workers around the country are now reviewing our details and sharing our books with prospective matches. The agency says sometimes it happens immediately and sometimes it takes a full year, they just don’t know as of course you’re waiting to be picked by someone based on your book.

So to take advantage of my out-of-whack mental state, I went into maniacal “get this shit done as quickly as possible so we don’t have to think about so we don’t have to think about it” mode. And it’s all done. Literally before we left on vacation​, the agency had everything and has distributed everything to the social workers around the country that they work with. We will get monthly updates starting in late June so we can better know how many birth mothers who are a mutual have viewed our profile books, etc. We could be picked immediately or it could take a year, one never knows in these situations.

I am extraordinarily cautiously optimistic… and of course quite realistic. Maybe we’ll never be chosen. Maybe the agency will go out of business. Maybe maybe maybe. Or? Maybe there will be a child in our house by Christmas. Maybe we’ll get the phone call this summer. Maybe we’ll finally be parents, and have our wish come true.

I am letting myself think about motherhood once again. But I’m focusing on ALL of my life now. Something about being completely hormone-free perhaps. Or maybe it’s going to PT and realizing if I don’t have a healthy back, I will lose an even greater part of myself than I would without a working reproductive system.

Wheels are turning. I’m moving forward, come hell or high water. My turn to be Wonder Woman, dammit. I fucking hope so.

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  One thought on “Version 4.0

  1. June 1, 2017 at 6:43 am

    You are a seriously kick arse woman. To go through so much, and to still keep on exploring options, do paperwork, to still have hope and dreams etc is truly inspiring. To quote my grandmother “when life gives you shit, use it to grow your garden”.

    Hope your back gets better soon, back pain sucks the big one.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. mamajo23
    June 1, 2017 at 7:14 am

    You are Wonder Woman already to me. Unfollowing is something I completely get. Protect yourself and create the environment you need to heal. Just know I am here, invested in your beautiful but beyond f**king challenging love story to a family ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. June 1, 2017 at 7:59 am

    I’m really happy to hear this! Not least because you found an agency that isn’t religious. My husband has never quite said it, but I think that’s one of the reasons he’s so against agency adoption. When our RE told us that I would never be able to get pregnant due to Asherman’s, he actually suggested we become Catholic or Mormon just so we would have an easy time adopting (obviously, we did not take that advice). And along those lines, I totally get where you’re coming from regarding seeing everyone else succeed (and I know not every does succeed (see: Me!) but it seems like the vast majority do) and it isn’t fair, and it sucks, and it’s sooooo hard to be supportive. I sincerely hope your wait isn’t too long, it sounds like such a great option for you guys!

    Like

    • June 1, 2017 at 9:19 am

      On the religious thing, I jokingly said that to my husband as well to just play along with the Jesus thing, but his eyes just about rolled out of his head, hah! We’ll see what happens…at least we don’t have to worry about an entire country closing adoptions like what happened with Ethiopia (I’ve been reading horror stories about the others like us who were further along, some even literally on their way to Addis to bring their kiddo home, who had to turn back and come home,ugh)…

      Like

  4. June 1, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I don’t feel like words are enough and each try I attempt to write nothing I write will be of any help. The truth is no one can understand what you are going through other that you and your husband… I hope that whatever the future holds you’ll get more answers soon. Thinking of you x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. June 1, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I’m amazed at how you keep picking yourself and keep moving forward despite the pain and setbacks. I hope life gives you a break sooner rather than later. And keep following your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Betty
    June 1, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Oh damn I am so excited about version 4.0 and I can’t wait to follow along. Domestic adoption is something that scares me a little because of everything you said and it sounds like you found a good agency.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. June 1, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I ‘unfollow’ too 😞. But wow, that sounds great, so glad you were able to save some money and everything is happening so quickly! Progress=hope. 🤞🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  8. June 1, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Hi there. I completely get why you’ve probably unfollowed me… sorry you have been going through such a hard time. I just wanted to say that as a transracial adoptee myself there are some groups you might be interested in, that prepare prospective adoptive parents and focus on learning from the lived experience of transracial adoptees. If you are interested then drop me a line (zero to zygote gmail) and I can send you details. Some groups are secret so you wouldn’t be able to find them. (Assuming you are not already in them.)

    Like

    • June 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Thanks ! When we were preparing to adopt from Ethiopia, we’d started looking into some local groups here in PDX and the international agency’s training was really focused on it, but we were waiting to go full-immersion when we had the referral (which never came of course since Ethiopia stopped everything last month). So as soon as we are matched with a birth mother and know her background (the agency’s focus is transracial but about 20% end up not, so it’s really who picks us) we’ll definitely be back into the groups/blogs/etc. and be in touch with you as well. thanks again!

      Like

  9. June 1, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Holy shit. I’m fighting back tears as I read this post. I am an adopted child. Even though I was only a few months old when my adoptive parents took me home, I have always known I was adopted. So I always kind of took it for granted; my parents wanted children, didn’t think they could have any, and adopted me (and later, my brother).
    As I read this, it gave me insight into some of what my adoptive mother must have been thinking and feeling as she went through the tortuous process of becoming an adoptive parent. It’s the kind of thing I would probably never have thought to ask her about, because it’s always just been a fact of life (and taken for granted).
    You are so very courageous to share this part of your innermost and vulnerable self with us, and I thank you for that. It is an honor for me to be allowed to glimpse it, and to potentially gain understanding of what my mom felt as she waited for her chance to become a mother.
    I hope that you do get chosen soon. I believe, with all of my heart, that you will be just as good of a mother as my mom was and is. I believe any child who gets to have you for a mom will be better and wiser for it.
    Now, I’m going to go dry my tears and blow my nose, and you had better go heal your back. My back hurts just thinking about what you’ve been through with yours, so I truly do hope you start healing.
    XOXO

    Liked by 2 people

    • June 1, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you so so so much for your words. It really means a lot to hear from people who have been through it. My cousin was given up for adoption by my aunt when my aunt was in high school and I met her when I was my twenties and she came looking to meet our family, and I was always so happy to know that she was blessed with such a great mom and dad who had adopted her. I’m so glad there are so many more options when it comes to adoption and respecting the birth mother (and father if he’s around) not to mention getting adoptive parents ready for the process. Not that anyone is ever truly ready, but we feel really lucky to have so many people around us, including the agency, who talked openly about their experience, whether it be parents or children. Thank you so much again and I hope you will consider writing about it in your blog – you have a great voice.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. longtermivf
    June 2, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I’m glad you can finally get off the hormone hell ride – obviously I wish the outcome could have been different. Good for you focusing on your book and trying to move forward despite all the awfulness. I really hope that this agency gives you the baby you both so deserve.
    In the meantime drink that whiskey! I hope you manage to find some peace and even joy (!) in these coming months.
    X

    Like

  11. June 2, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I’m so glad to read these updates. Well, not happy about a lot of it- like your ongoing back pain- but it’s nice to hear about where you are in the motherhood process. Damn girl you got that shit together REALLY fast! Already being distributed! In any case, I know that nothing is guaranteed or promised but I am optimistic for you and really hopeful to hear about your adoption journey in the coming months. Sending a lot of positive vibes that this goes more quickly for you.

    The biggest and most highly-recommended domestic adoption agency in my neck of the woods is, of course, religiously based. It was founded by a missionary, and they have all this language about “God guiding these families” and believe me, there are no “success stories” on their website about single parents or LGBTQ families. And yet well-intentioned people keep promoting it over all the rest! It’s so frustrating. Glad you found a place more aligned with your values.

    Like

    • June 2, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Yeah, no kidding, the big agency here is similar to that as well, and now with several states passing unconstitutional laws allowing adoption agencies to discriminate based on ‘religious beliefs’ it will be even harder for people to adopt, particularly LGBTQ, single parents, etc. Hell it was hard enough finding a country internationally that would take us two white folks as our combined age was too old (43+49; max is 90) for most countries. UGH.

      Thanks for the support 🙂

      Like

  12. June 2, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    So amazingly happy to hear about this next step. You’ve been in my thoughts this whole time and it is an opportunity you deserve so much! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that you won’t have to be so unbelievably strong for much longer. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  13. June 2, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    I understand the unfollowing, I’ve done it too as it just gets too painful when things work out for others. I wish you all the best with the adoption agency. I’m glad you found one that isn’t religious. Good luck with your back and health too. It’s so hard not being able to exercise when life gives you shit. It’s good to read about your next steps, I have a lot of hope for you.

    Like

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