Saturday, May 31, 2014

Adoption Does Not Cause Pregnancy, and Other Thoughts

You may have read lists of things to say and not to say to people in certain categories (e.g. pregnant women, adoptive parents, etc.). Infertility is one of those categories.

Many of us in the infertility world have heard this one a few times: "Once you start the adoption process, you'll get pregnant. That's what happened to my friend." Adoption does not cause pregnancy. Seriously, it doesn't. Some people may conceive during the adoption process, but the adoption had nothing to do with it.

As we turn toward adoption, I find myself afraid of reinforcing the misconception. "What if I'm THAT person, the one that gets pregnant during the adoption process?!! That would be so horrible!" Then, I realize that I'm saying pregnancy would be horrible. Pregnancy: the condition I have been trying to achieve for so many years. Ridiculous. If I had to choose between reinforcing a misconception or having a child, I would obviously choose having a child. Obviously.

Other than these ridiculous thoughts, I am in a great place right now. I am happier than I have been for a LONG time. I'm excited about things like our new house and an upcoming trip to Florida. More than anything, I'm excited about adoption. We both are. I know it will be a long journey, possibly involving heartbreak. Still, I am excited. For the first time, I am watching for items for our baby's room ["Our baby"? What?]. Lord willing, a baby will be joining our family in the next year or so. This is really happening, and I'm excited!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Burden or Blessing?

I recently came across Jillian's story. Jillian and her husband walked through infertility to international adoption, and then back into the infertility world. Her story is particularly meaningful to me, because I would not be surprised to follow in her footsteps. While excited to pursue adoption, we may consider further treatments in several years.

On the other hand, I notice a striking difference in our stories. Jillian describes the longing she feels to experience pregnancy. I used to feel that, but the feeling seems to be gone. I find myself very curious about pregnancy and excited for my pregnant friends, but that is all. The change makes me wonder if God had a different plan for me all along. I consider my hatred of needles, my low pain tolerance, and my hesitance about many things pregnancy would require. Maybe God knew that infertility would refine me and that adoption would be better for us. Maybe the burden of infertility was actually a blessing.

While more treatments may be in our future, we are proceeding as if each of our children will be placed in our home through adoption. God's plan is perfect, and He will carry it out. We are trusting Him to lead us and provide for each step of the journey.

Side Note: Thinking about childlessness and infertility can be really heavy sometimes. If you need a pick-me-up, feel free to stop by my other blog for "What A Difference A Towel Makes." The post is about my most recent rookie mistake at the gym.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Taking a Break Means Putting on the Brakes

This is our summer off. We agreed to take the next several months to forget about infertility and adoption, allowing ourselves to be excited about the new house and just live life for a while.

But, I got ahead of myself. In a moment of weakness, I checked the criteria for adoptive families on the website of the agency we planned to use. Uh-oh. The agency has a strict "alcohol, tobacco, and drug free" policy. Two of the three are not a problem, but we do occasionally have alcohol. We believe that alcohol is a good gift from God when used wisely.  Now, we could swear off alcohol until the adoption was final, but that wouldn't be honest. If the agency so clearly disagrees with us on this issue, we would be concerned that they could bump us down on the waiting list. So, we decided to work with a different agency.

Our plan had been to not take any steps toward adoption until September, but that was when we thought the agency was already chosen. So, I started doing research (usually a bad idea for me). Soon I was reading about adoption grants and fundraisers, watching adoption videos, creating spreadsheets, and overwhelming C with thoughts and questions. After a few days of chaos, he was kind enough to reign me in. This was supposed to be our summer off.

We came to a new agreement: I will research adoption agencies, and only adoption agencies, for the next two weeks. At the end of two weeks, I will reveal my agency comparison spreadsheet to C, and we will choose an agency. Then, we will do nothing else adoption-related until September. It's hard for me to even write that. I want to read and research and apply and get approved and bring home a baby tomorrow, or even today. But instead, we will wait. We need this time of rest and recovery after our long season of struggle.

Please pray for us. Pray that we connect with the agency that will lead us to our child. Pray that God helps us truly let go of infertility stress this summer.

Thank you all for the prayers and encouragement.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Burgers and Fertility

Yesterday was Memorial Day. Memorial Day reminds me of burgers, which explains the desire for burgers we encountered yesterday. My failure to plan in advance for this desire led us to good 'ol Burger King. 


Let me tell you, we snarfed down those Whoppers like nobody's business. Guess what? I felt free to eat that Whopper. Thoughts of "This meal could negatively affect fertility" were replaced by "This meal might shorten our lives, but boy is it good!" I don't think fertility even entered my mind. 

What is that you say? "Welcome to normal life"? Why, thank you. I'm happy to be here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Retraining My Brain

The other day, I sprayed propane on my head. Don't worry, it was only one ingredient of a dry shampoo. A few months ago, I wouldn't have tried anything that wasn't approved by the EWG Guide, which is very helpful, by the way.

Right now, I am trying to retrain my brain. I no longer want infertility to be the filter through which all decisions are made. Deli meat is a good example. I have heard that some deli meat can be harmful during pregnancy. For the last several years, pregnancy seemed just around the corner, so I generally avoided deli meat. The fact is that I am not pregnant, nor am I likely to be so in the future. Therefore, I can eat deli meat. See what I mean?

Before you become concerned about my health, let me assure you that I still plan to make healthy choices. Infertility prompted me to study and learn. I am just trying to use the information with a different focus. It is not about fertility anymore. I want to continue exercising for my overall health. If I continue avoiding sulfates in shampoo, it needs to be for overall health rather than fertility. My goal is to turn the infertility filter off in my brain. This task will not be easy, but freedom will follow.

Freedom, here I come.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Who and How?

Recently, I smiled and cried through a documentary called Haiti Love. The documentary follows our friends through their adoption of two girls from Haiti. We are blessed to know several people involved with the orphanage, Children of the Promise, and it was so neat to see a portion of their ministry. They are doing good work. Due to the ethical issues that can be involved in international adoption, I am thankful for orphanages like Children of the Promise that do everything in their power to keep children with their birth families. International adoption is only sought if the other measures fail.

We are so excited to see who God will place in our family and how. Will we meet a birthmother at the hospital for the birth of our child? Will we travel to another country to pick up a child? I don't know. Please pray with us that God would point us in the right direction at every step.


Friday, May 16, 2014

We Quit, and That's Okay

We stopped testing and treatments. Doctors didn't tell us we should. In fact, we could have tried MANY more tests and treatments. After all, we did not even receive a definitive diagnosis. We quit. And that's okay.

C and I are both perfectionists and achievers. In many ways, infertility has felt like continuous failure. Every month, we have been hit in the face with this "failure." After three years, we are tired of it. Yes, medical professionals could do more for us. Yes, chiropractors and naturopaths would do more. Maybe in a few years, we will ask them to try. But, it is okay for us to walk away now, and it would be okay for us to never go back. I refuse to see infertility as failure.

We have always wanted to adopt. Our family plan (which now seems laughable) was to start with a few biological children, then to add several adopted children. I love to have a plan that is perfectly executed. Obviously, family is not something I could plan. God has recently been focusing both of us on adoption. Infertility tests and treatments felt increasingly like paying money to beat our heads against a wall. So, we asked ourselves why. When neither of us had a good reason that adoption wouldn't also address, we knew it was time to stop. So we quit. And that's okay.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

A (Major) Change of Plans

Our plans have changed dramatically in the last few weeks. I am still working to wrap my mind around everything, which is why I haven't shared the change on the blog until today. Our families have been very supportive throughout our journey, so we wanted to let them know first. Here is the email we sent:
Dear Family,
Our lives have taken a turn, and we want to bring you up to speed. For various reasons, we have decided to stop infertility testing and treatments for the foreseeable future. We will not be doing another round of Clomid after all. Instead, we are going to take the summer to focus on our new house. In September, we plan to begin the adoption process.

After more than three years of trying to conceive, this change feels very strange. Davy feels that infertility has been a factor in every decision she has made, from what to eat, to how to sit, to what soap to use. Freedom from the bondage of infertility seems very foreign. We are trying to come to grips with the untidiness of this decision. While testing has come to an end, the possibility of pregnancy will be there indefinitely. Some people go on birth control when they stop infertility treatments. We are starting to see why. Birth control is exactly that: control. We are surrendering (or attempting to surrender) control. God could choose to bless us with a surprise, but we will not be planning on that possibility.

This fall, we plan to take steps toward infant adoption. In an effort to truly take the summer off from family “planning” (as if planning is all it takes), we are not doing a lot of research or preparation yet. We have a local agency in mind, but will need to have certain questions answered before making a final decision.

You have all been so supportive in our journey. We are thankful and feel very blessed. If you would like to come alongside us and learn more, please consider reading the book Adopted for Life, by Russell Moore. The author and his wife have walked through infertility, adoption, and eventually had biological children. The book includes information for couples like us and for people who know couples like us (that’s you).

Please note that this decision does not have to be permanent. As many people remind us, we are still young(ish). If we wanted to pursue more treatment in several years, we could. For now, we plan to pursue adoption. We believe that God has a family planned for us, and we are excited to see who He places in our family and how. It’s exciting. Please be excited with us and please pray with us.
We love you all.
C and Davy
So there you have it. We are taking the summer off and then plan to pursue adoption. The ramifications are complex, so I will post more thoughts soon. If you have any questions, please leave them below. I will try to address them in a future post. Thank you for the support and encouragement.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day for the Wanna-Be's

Mother's Day can be a tough one for childless people like me. Surprisingly, it didn't bother me this year. I have learned that emotions really cannot be predicted. Why would I burst into tears during a random church service, but not on Mother's Day? Maybe expecting strong emotion is enough to keep it away. Anyway, I am just one person dealing with infertility. There are many, many more. If you truly want to understand how the infertile people around you are feeling, try reading some of these posts:
I noticed several thoughtful posts circulating last week, specifically here, here, here, and here. They encouraged people to remember people who may struggle on Mother's Day. I think we should try to be mindful of those around us, but still fully embrace joy. A friend may be mourning the loss of her mother, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate your own mother. Similarly, my lack of children doesn't mean that you should avoid celebrating yours.

On Sunday, I received messages and hugs from several friends. They realized it could be a tough day, so wanted to let me know they were thinking of and praying for me. I felt very loved. Mothers are worth celebrating. As I have said before, I don't want my infertility to dampen anyone else's joy. Kind gestures are deeply appreciated, but I would not want to shift the focus of the day to myself. Someday, Mother's Day will apply to me, and I look forward to that day!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Selfless Choice

This post is not typical for this blog. Most of my posts are about our infertility journey. As you probably heard, a woman's video of her abortion story has recently gone viral. Her "choice" is being applauded by pro-choice advocates and condemned by pro-life advocates. I am saddened that anyone would choose to abort the miracle that is life. Those of us dealing with infertility realize that conception is a miracle every time, that it is not a given. Many of us would gladly adopt the unwanted babies. This video features women who made a different choice when faced with unplanned pregnancies.

Happy Mother's Day, Birth Moms! Thank you for being selfless and for placing your child's needs above your own. May the Lord bless you.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Clomid Round 1: A Failure

Clomid is not our wonder drug. From what I can tell, round one had precisely zero impact on my body. A few headaches and a queasy stomach made me hopeful that something was happening. Now, I can safely attribute the headaches to normal life and the queasiness to a crazy travel schedule and airport food.

Until today, we included the possibility that I could be pregnant in talking about the future, especially in planning the setup of our new house. Since Clomid can cause multiples, we would joke that twins would be great and that triplets would finally convince our parents to move closer. Now, more than ever, I doubt that I will ever be pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I know it could happen when we least expect (that just happened to one of my infertility friends). It just seems unlikely.

This afternoon, we had a "cumbersation" (a cumbersome conversation) about our next steps. We are not ready to share all of our decisions with the world. I will share one with you: the next round of Clomid will likely be the end of our infertility process for now. That means no more tests, no more treatments, and no more "trying" in the foreseeable future. Surprisingly, we are a little excited. The last several years have been an exhausting emotional roller coaster. Even if the exit is different than hoped, we are ready to get off the roller coaster. This summer will provide freedom that we haven't experienced in a long time. I will be free from viewing everything through an infertility lens. I can drink coffee, exercise just to be healthy, and forget about charting. We can get excited about moving into our new house and working on projects together. Can I get a "woohoo"?

As strange as it feels to be disappointed and excited at the same time, here we are. God has been slowly changing our expectations about family. We still are not sure what our family will look like, but we are excited to see.

Thanks so much for all of the prayers. Without them, I am confident that today would have been much, much harder.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Strange Week to Miss

I missed National Infertility Awareness Week. One week per year is dedicated to infertility, and I totally missed it. After reading infertility blogs and writing on this blog multiple times every week for months, I missed the one week per year that is dedicated to infertility. Ridiculous! How could I miss it? Well, you see, we found a house to buy and started the mortgage process. Then, we traveled "home" for several very busy days. Blogging necessarily took a backseat.

After kicking myself for making such a "huge" mistake, I started to feel a little silly. I don't actually need a week to be aware of infertility. I'm aware of infertility every week, every day in fact. Infertility is in the back of my mind nearly all of the time. Sit up straighter; a squished spine might decrease fertility. Don't drink that cup of coffee; caffeine might decrease fertility. Take that prenatal vitamin; my body needs to be ready to carry a baby. Eat more vegetables to improve fertility. Get more sleep to avoid hindering fertility. Don't get too stressed. Stay away from "normal" shampoo; the chemicals are linked to infertility.

I'm tired of being aware of infertility.  I know many people have been on this road for way longer, and I really feel for them. We all long for the days when we thought a positive pregnancy test always resulted in a healthy baby, when we thought pregnancy was inevitable unless prevented, when we assumed that life would follow our own plans.

National Infertility Awareness Week is not really for us. It's for those of you who can't relate. I hope this blog has made you more aware of infertility. If you want to learn more, please check out these resources and other perspectives: