Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Permission to Feel Joy

This past Sunday Sam and I attended an all-day seminar on the adoption process, held at the San Antonio branch of Adoption  Affiliates. Even though we had already decided to work with this agency, the seminar further assured us that this is the perfect fit for us. I’m so excited I could talk about it all day long..!

The seminar covered a wide range of adoption-related topics, answering questions from “how does a birthmother feel when going through this process?” to “what kind of car seats should we think about getting?”. We got to hear stories directly from a birthmother and two couples who have become parents through AA: how the branch directors at AA (Jan and Julie) went above and beyond helping them through the process; how they were extensively counseled on coping with all these changes, how they still care even though it’s been a couple of years since the formal process ended. The sense of peace seen in these people, from their grateful words down to their body language, made us feel like we were in the process of not only becoming parents, but becoming family with this agency.

We were one out of six couples that attended the seminar; it’s funny how total strangers can instantly feel a strong connection the second they begin to share their stories with one another. Even though specific reasons for infertility varied among us, the deep longing and sense of humility in that room was palpable. For a split second I thought, “Sooo… a birthmother could pick us… or any of these other couples”, but instead of feeling “competitive” about it, I felt very hopeful and happy that we were all there, together, with one common hope: to expand our families and love a child.

So, a few of the many things we learned:
-          Many birthmothers are NOT teenage girls, as you would believe. The birthmother we met was 29 years old when she got pregnant with her third child, and since she is strongly opposed to abortion and could not take care of so many children, decided to give her child up for adoption. She still receives letters and photos from the adoptive family, and the little girl knows she has a birthmother (even though she’s only two years old). She is so happy that the girl is in wonderful hands.

-          Older people, as a general rule, tend to have a harder time accepting adoption as a safe way to become parents. This made me feel much better, since my grandma has been having a hard time understanding why we have decided to adopt. She believes that Sam and I “don’t have enough faith in God”, and wishes we would wait until a miracle happened. It’s been one of the hardest things to deal with, because it’s easy to feel like we’re being rejected for our decision. But, hearing stories about why older people react this way to adoption gave me a better understanding, and hopefully more patience too.

-          We should be getting ready for baby, after all. One of the most important things this seminar gave me was permission to feel excitement; permission to buy crib, look up bottle brands, etc. But, they do recommend that we wait until baby has been placed in our home before there is a baby shower. They explained that every once in a while they do have birthmothers who change their mind after all, so it is wise to wait until baby is home.

So, we have turned in the formal application paperwork and have now entered phase 2: home study, letter to birthparents, and profile (AKA cute album with photos of us and our life together). Here we go..!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baby Room Color Palette

I've been away for so long, that I haven't mentioned that we found the adoption agency we'll be working with. So, we did! The Agency is Adoption Affiliates, from San Antonio. We met with the director of the agency about a month or so ago, loved her AND everything we learned about the agency. So we're in the process of filling out the application paperwork, and on October 28th we'll attend an all-day seminar where we'll get to meet families that have come together through the agency, as well as women who have given their children up for adoption and other waiting families. The Lord has, at last, given us a ray of hope.

So, I've started clearing out the guest room so one day with the Lord's blessing, it will be full of baby things. Like I said in my previous post, it's a different kind of "nesting mode" because we don't know when baby will come. However, since we expect to be officially on the waiting list some time early 2013, we technically need to have the baby essentials in case we're called sooner than we expect.

So far, everything we have thought about discussing: making room in the guest room's closet, looking for a crib, etc., I've been quite cautious about my excitement. No necessarily on purpose, it's just that... I guess I'm afraid to be happy all the way. I know, I know: "afraid" should not be in my vocabulary, if I know the Lord carries us through all trials, all moments in our lives. I just don't want to hope that a birthmother will pick us soon, and that we'll be parents by next summer. But, there is one thing that I HAVE been getting excited about...

Baby room's colors! Furniture! My passion for color and design combined with... my incredible yearning to be a mom!!! So, after doing a bit of sketching the past few days, I came up with a really cute color palette today, I think:

I have been dreaming about painting a tree silhouette in the room, and this was my "anchor idea" for the whole thing. After considering several wall colors, I decided on Sherwin Williams' "Cargo Pants", which is a very soothing, very light green. The rest of the colors, well, need to stay pretty neutral since we won't know until last minute whether it will be a "he" or a "she". So:
- The tree will be white, and it will feature leaves of all colors. There will also be an owl, which I'm thinking will be the "boy" or "girl" part of the tree design. Kind of like the owl that I LOVE in this picture:

- I have a mobile made out of real tree branches and beautiful little birds that I painted (will HAVE to write a whole other post on that), so that will go beautifully with the tree, etc.
- Since the room is fairly small AND we will have to leave the full-size guest bed there, I decided the crib cannot be a dark brown, as I initially thought. Instead, we'll buy a white crib to help "lighten" the room. The only dark piece will be the tea cart shown in the sketch, I think I'm going to love seeing it there..!
- The bedding for the guest bed won't be just white... just wanted to keep it "open for ideas". Same with more specific decorating items like stuffed animals, etc.
- I bought this beautiful antique mirror a few months ago and haven't really found a place for it.. until now :) It will go, as you see in the sketch, above the tea cart. I knew the whimsical design of that mirror was lovely.. :)

Anyway... I'm SO excited to have this started. Yippee! :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

About Baby Showers.

What can I say, it's been so long that I'm not done with my thoughts.

We have started the "nesting process"... somewhat. We haven't finished filling out the paperwork yet, which makes it a little strange, I guess. Maybe it's that in getting to hold my niece, "baby mode" is slowly settling back within me. It's a variant of a typical "baby mode", though.

I imagine that a woman who's blessed enough to become pregnant begins to realize just how many things need to be set up and get done before baby arrives once she notices changes in her body. These changes: the morning sickness, the slowly burgeoning belly, the ultrasounds... all these things function like police sirens, reminding her that a room must be set up, and that an array of new things must be purchased: bottles, burping towels, onesies, diapers, receiving blankets...

I don't get to feel any physical changes. We don't get to have a "due date". Instead, we hope that someone will pick us. Once picked, we hope she doesn't change her mind. We get to hold our breaths and hope for 48 hours once the baby is born. We are not sure of our impending parenthood until two days after the baby has been in this Earth. So because of this, looking at cribs, making room in the guest room's closet for baby things, etc. feels quite odd. I don't feel the absolute joy that biological parents feel. I feel caution. A slightly "sad" joy.

I went to my first baby shower, ever. It was for my good friend from BRW. Since she quit BRW in September, she and her family have moved to Dallas, so I told myself I would make it to her baby shower so I could get to see her: after all, she's the only close friend I have had, here in town, since I graduated from A&M. So I braved through my uncertainty and made it to the shower. For the most part I did... okay I guess. I hardly ever smiled. When the women took turns to say a prayer for my friend... this is what got me. I had to fight to not let tears fall. Hearing over and over things like, "thank you Lord for the beautiful blessing you have bestowed upon so-and-so...", boy, that was hard.

But I soldiered through, and to me, even though I was kind of miserable at the event, it meant that I'm slowly taking one more step toward recovery. I'm still afraid of what will happen when my sister in law or my brother in law's future wife become pregnant... I'm still not looking forward to being reminded of my uniqueness. But I can't worry about that too much, now.

The shower did make me realize one more thing that made me sad: I probably will not get to have a baby shower. As I write this my eyes are watering, and I feel silly for giving this such importance. But really, I just don't see how it would happen. Like I said before, we do not know whether baby will be ours until 48 hours AFTER the baby's been born. So having a shower before knowing this for sure would feel silly and imprudent, and afterwards we'll have a baby. So... yeah, probably not.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13

P.S.: The hilarious graphic above was found here: http://blog.cornerstorkbabygifts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Baby-shower-graphic.jpg . I love Google..!!

Been a While..! Update on Doctors.

Time really has been going by so flippin' fast. I blame my not updating the blog to my beloved lappy, which at almost eight years old now, really is on its last legs. Thankfully we have some money saved up so I can get a brand-new spankin' laptop when this one decides to join lappy heaven.

So anyway... since last time I posted, I decided to go see an OB-GYN who a good friend of mine had recommended. She had said this guy had amazing bedside manners, was understanding and kind, and really cared to listen to his patients. So I thought, "let's try him out..!"

Oh, what a mistake it was. From the moment the man came into the room, he had an attitude with me and I'm not sure why. I can literally write down a "laundry list" of how he was the worst doctor I have met:

- He asked why I was there. After giving him a brief history on our infertility and my need for prescription hormones so I can have a period, he asked, "why do you WANT to have a period?". "Ummm, because I am SUPPOSED to...", to which he proceeded to explain that this was not true (even though EVERY OTHER DOCTOR out there will tell you that a woman is supposed to have at least one period every three months).

- He checked the test results that other doctors had done to me; to which he proceeded to tell me that the results on hand were not enough for him to give me a diagnosis, and that for all he knew, "you could have cancer... or lupus... heck, it could be a number of things!"

- He was super annoyed when I told him that I was on a thyroid supplement. He said that when looking at my numbers, he would never think my problem was thyroid-related. When I asked him what his professional opinion would be when I told him I had: a crippling lack of energy, very cold fingertips and feet, dizzy spells, nausea, very dry skin... he said he thought I was depressed. He even tried to blame SAM for "my being depressed". I would accept this diagnosis if the symptoms would have first shown up in June of 2011, when we learned that my chances of getting pregnant were nearly zero. But I have had these symptoms since I was 12 years old.

- He suggested that I try antidepressants. Enough said.

- When he did the pap smear, he was NOT delicate. It hurt quite a bit and did not seem sympathetic when I said it hurt.

- When he did the breast exam, he did not give me a "warning" (as every other doctor has done, just to be respectful) and instead flung my gown open and started feeling up my breasts.

- Saved the BEST for last: near the end of the appointment, he said, "I prescribed the hormones for you. If I don't hear from you within the next month, I'm going to assume that (a) the hormones I prescribed worked, or (b) you fired me." Just like that.

To be fair, the TWO things he did right were:
- He prescribed bio-identical hormone supplements, as I asked.

- He recommended reproductive endocrinologists for me to see, who would likely have more experience with premature ovarian failure. Right at the beginning he acknowledged that in his 30+ years of medical practice, he had only seen about four other cases of POF. So, why not just shut up..? Why suggest that I may be depressed, likely because my husband is "devastated" at my infertility?

He's lucky I didn't walk off the room. His name is Dr. David Doss, from the Brazos Valley Women's Center.

Anyway. I did end up making an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist in Houston; I will have a phone consultation with her this coming Friday (October 19th). Here's hoping that this lady knows a thing or two about POF. I'm not holding my breath though.