Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Public Enemy #1.

So, I don't write a lot about infertility here and my experience with it.  No particular reason really, it's just not a part of my life now, and hasn't been since I started this blog.  I mean sure.......it's a part of my life in that I was never able to get pregnant and I'm assuming I still can't--actually, by my own actions I'm making sure I can't, but it's not a part of my life in the way that it used to be when I was running back and forth to the fertility specialists, shooting up in the bathroom, popping pills that reduced me to panic attacks on the highway if someone passed me or honked at me, and writing one check after another that I now feel was the equivalent of burning $100 bills one after another.

Can I get an "Amen" that that is over?  For good.

But it's true, I did all those things.  I spent more hours with my legs in stir-ups than Sea Biscuits jockey and gave myself shots and went under the knife all in the name of "trying one more thing" in our attempts to get pregnant even though no one could ever tell us why we weren't getting pregnant.

It's easy for me to tell you now why I couldn't get pregnant, however.  It's a one word answer.


And I am so thankful.
So thankful.
I mean that with everything in me.
Georgia would not be mine had I gotten pregnant.  And sure, it's easy to say, "but you would still have a baby--and you wouldn't even know the difference--you'd have a baby."

But it wouldn't be Georgia. Not my Georgia.

Had I known what I would experience with adoption and knew what it would really feel like during the five years we tried to get pregnant I believe I would have flushed those Clomid pills down the toilet, and sold my left over Valium from the little slice of hell, known as a hysterosalpingogram, on the corner.

But I know that there is no way to know what you learn through a situation ahead of time.  Sure, you can read other people's accounts, you can talk to friends you know that have gone through it, you can talk to specialists, and you can try and force yourself to believe it's okay.  But.......most of the time it's just a matter of experience.  Like everything else in life.

The funny thing though is that most girls I know who are working their way through infertility treatments don't really want to talk to us adoptive moms.  We're kind of like public enemy #1 when you're traveling down the road of conception.

We're this beaming light of failed fertility treatments, drugs that don't work, and the ultimate last resort........adoption.  We represent this heavy decision of, "should we keep trying or give up?," we make people face that gut wrenching internal conflict that poses the question, "can I really be okay with raising a child that is not biologically mine?" We are the end of the road.  And really we're the end of a fork in the road that people don't really want to veer down when they first start trying to have a baby.  No one really wants to hear from us; how Clomid didn't work, how ovulation shots did nothing, that an exploratory surgery only resulted in losing five pounds during recovery, that IUI's were a bust, and that IVF was just too much to bite off (at least it was for me).

And I get it.  I one hundred and fifty percent get it.

I'm pretty sure I probably felt like this too--even though now--hindsight has convinced me that I didn't.  Whatever, it's a liar.

I write a lot about adoption and I know it comes across like butterflies and rainbows and fairy dust.  And now......four years into it.....most days I honestly feel like that.  But, I'm honest.......it wasn't like that from the very beginning.

It was a big step.  It was scary to make that first phone call.  I wasn't even convinced that I wanted to go through with the adoption until the night we got a phone call from our social worker telling us that a set of prospective parents wanted to meet us (eight weeks before Georgia was born). I cried after every single one of our adoption education classes at the agency we'd chosen--I hated those classes and they made me angry that we were even in this position; it wasn't fair.  I remember almost becoming physically angry when I heard a story about someone letting their daughter be a flower girl in her birth mom's wedding; it smacked of irresponsibility and unhealthy boundaries.  I got to a place that I was honestly okay if Chris and I never had children.  The idea of adoption was too hard.  It felt......as I said above.........like a last resort.

And like a light switch, when we met Georgia's first parents, everything settled into place.  It was a like a rush of fresh air that allowed me to breath evenly......for the first time in six months.......and really in five years.  I finally understood why all those adoptive moms talked so irritatingly incessantly about adoption and how "great" it was.  I knew that I'd never have to feel that bitter taste of failure again every month when I knew we weren't pregnant.  I knew I'd never again have to chart my temperature, mix a magical fertility concoction and give myself a shot, take drugs that made me feel crazy, wake up every night with hot flashes, cry when someone else announced they were pregnant or complain about morning sickness, and mostly......I was relieved that I could stop driving myself crazy wondering if we were really doing enough to get pregnant.

Overnight I stepped quietly across that invisible line.  Where on one side you're trying to get pregnant with all that you have (literally) and you share a deep camaraderie with every other woman doing it with you, and on the other side you've become a symbol of last resorts, lost hopes, broken dreams, and the fleeting thoughts you had when you first started trying to get pregnant, "adoption's not for me."

And that's okay with me.  I know it's not how I feel today.  In fact I couldn't be more thrilled to be on the adoptive mom side of the line.  I wish more people in this world had the chance to experience it.  It's been more fulfilling, heart wrenching in a good, good way, eye opening, life changing, worldview expanding, and just plain more amazing than I ever imagined the road to parenthood could be eight years ago when my husband and I started trying to become parents.

I don't write this because I am bothered that women who are struggling to conceive kind of look at adoptive moms like a sort of force field.  I write it because I understand the feeling.  I've had it.  I believed it.  And I was terrified of getting there.

But I'm here now.  I'm way here. And it's kind of like another pair of pink shoes.  I didn't know it was the route my map would take me.  But baby........I am over the moon that it did.  It's like discovering the best little local place to eat along the scenic route that I never would have found otherwise....but once you've been there it gets under your skin and you just can't shake it.....you crave it.

And if you're like I was four years ago..........and you end up getting to adopt a child I'd bet you a million bucks, pretty soon,  you won't ever remember feeling like choosing to adopt a child was a hard decision.  You'll feel like it was what you were made to do.  And anything else........wouldn't even feel like........you.


  1. Love this post! It reminds me of a great quote I just read about foster parenting/adopting..."the risk is great, but the rewards are greater!" Thanks for sharing, friend!:)

  2. I just found you from the open adoption blogger site (i'm a blogger on it too)! I loved loved loved this post! You put all those feelings I have perfectly into words. I have a friend that has recently come to the end of fertility treatments and is treating me like I have the plague right now. I guess since I'm on the happy giddy side of adoption, I was having a hard time seeing how hard that might be for her right now. Look forward to following your blog!

    1. Thanks for the great comment and for the follow! So glad to meet someone else through "open adoption bloggers!" I'm heading over to check out your space!

  3. This is SO well written. My niece and nephew are adopted and I'll be passing this right along to my sister.

  4. Thanks Mindee! I hope your sister can relate! And how awesome to have two adoptions in your family!

  5. Crave it indeed. Such a great post - one that I think more people need to read. Consider it pinned. :)

  6. Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely!!!! I just love this post. From one adoptive Momma to another - thank you!! I am now following you. :)


    1. Thanks so much Amber! And thanks for the follow--can't wait to check out your site!

  7. I'm an Open Adoption Blogger and saw your link on the We Blog for Adoption group on FB.

    I loved your post!! So true in so many ways and I found myself nodding my head and agreeing with so much!!

    Awesome post!! I'm going to follow you if you don't mind!!!

  8. I truly loved this story. I, too, am an adoptive mom and proud of it! When they placed my son in my arms for the first time, I felt so "lucky" to be his mom. I often feel bad for other people that haven't adopted because I think they're missing out on such a wonderful experience. I'll definitely be following your blog. I love it! Thank you!!!

    1. I always feel the same way about the feeling bad. It is just one of those things that can hardly be described unless you've lived it and I'm so beyond the moon that I have!

  9. I know it’s a few entries back, but I’ve been meaning to say thanks for posting this. So, thanks (way late)! ;) We’re in the waiting phase of adoption, and I wish it was always “rainbows” for me. But it’s not. (And then I feel guilty that it’s not.) I fight fear and doubt all the time. And I pray that I’ll be safely on the other side someday. You are so obviously and joyously on the other side, and it’s wonderful. But it’s nice for me to know that you weren’t always there; that you had some of the same ugly doubts and fears that I have right now. So, again, thanks. I’ve actually been thinking of writing my own post about the doubts and fears that I battle, but… I’m afraid, I guess. Ha! Ok, I’ll do it soon… (documentingbeth.blogspot.com)

    1. Beth--don't ever feel guilty for your thoughts while going through this process. I thought them all. And even after the baby games--there are thoughts that you can't believe you're thinking and it's OKAY. This is so hard, and not something that you grow up thinking about. You grow up thinking, I'll get married and have a baby and it will rock.....and instead you grow up and can't have a baby and have to learn how to navigate adoption and it's totally foreign--at least it was for us. Never beat yourself up!

  10. This is so well-written. As an adoption social worker, I've often encouraged people in the process by letting them know that, in retrospect, they wouldn't wish things different. Your post sums up what I've been trying to tell them.

  11. DH and I chose to move towards adoption rather then seeking out fertility treatments. About a year into our wait (this is not ever mentioned in my blog) we attempted IUI because I qualified for a free study that provided three "free" rounds of IUI. When we circumvented fertility treatments I had doubted the choice (but it is what we had agreed to prior to getting married- no fertility treatment). The study was too good to pass up and we were already waiting so we had nothing to lose (except my sanity which I found out later). During the last cycle of the study they were debating of having me wait another month before doing the IUI which meant the process would be a month longer I begged them just to do it even if it wouldn't work. I wanted OUT of the study. I didn't want IUI anymore - I just wanted to wait for my baby. At the end of the study I of course would have loved to have been pregnant. The lady (who was pregnant) and running the study was apologetic but I looked her straight in the eye and told her she had nothing to apologize for - I could have a baby tomorrow. It was another 5 months... but I won the baby lottery- she is perfect.

    I'm open about our infertility with friends/family. My best advice is always to have a plan- when do you stop? The doctors will keep going, keep giving you hope, keep telling you the chances. 1% chance sounds achievable when YOU could be that 1 in 100. I'm glad we skipped fertility treatments initially and wished we had not done the study. Though I probably would always have wondered if IUI would have worked had we just tried it- now I know.

    Great post :)

  12. Amen. Again. It's amazing all of the things that you learn through hindsight! :)


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