He’s Here!

A really quick update that my son Koen arrived in to the world last Thursday March 19th at 1:40 pm at 8lbs 4oz and 20 inches long.

We did it! Koen is a dutch name that means brave. For me it was a mindset I embraced the past three years while I waited for this little miracle to happen.

I’ll update more later. 🙂

  

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Seeking safety in my third trimester

*I’m so sorry my picture is the first thing ya’ll see! I tried to hide it below the blog post intro and it’s not working for some reason.*

Tomorrow I hit 30 weeks of pregnancy! For some reason, I’ve held on to the belief that somehow and someway if this pregnancy made it to the 30 week mark it would all be a-ok.  It’s my “safe place”.  one fertility hurdle leapt, another thing to cross off my worry list. There is no logic or reason I chose 30 weeks, it just sounds and seems so… safe.

The past 7 1/2 months have been filled with a lot of praying and a lot of bargaining to get me here in one piece emotionally. I still worry, but my worry has shifted. Earlier on in my pregnancy I prayed not to lose him, now I pray that he will be healthy; that he will be physically and emotionally equipped to become whoever he wants to become.

On the day of his birth, the exact moment when the doctors tell me he is healthy,I will finally get to close (or slam) the book of my infertility journey shut. My reality has been that in addition to physically carrying my son for the past 30 weeks, I’ve also carried the emotional baggage of loss, failed IVF cycles, Mother’s Day’s with empty arms, the list goes on and on. I will have a proper cry knowing both he and I are finally safe.

Here’s me and my little guy in all of our 3rd trimester glory!

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PTSD – Post Traumatic Sonogram Disorder

Yesterday was an interesting day for me. Had my first son Blake been born full-term his due date was October 15th 2011. So while it’s also Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Day, for me all I can think about it the little blond three-year-old that would be calling me Mama now. I’m a terrible infertile because I didn’t post anything to my social medias. I really should after all I am 1 in 4 and should be using my voice and my experiences to educate.  The only candle I considered lighting was one in my laundry room to cover up the litter box smell.

October 15th is so personal for me. I spent my day quietly reflecting on my first-born and remembering the son that taught me the true meaning of love and made me a mother.  It is and always will be mine and Blake’s day. I have such a grateful heart that he was part of my life.

On Monday (Oct 13th) I had an early 20 week ultrasound. All I could think about for days was the potential of having another loss by the 15th. Every time I’ve had an ultrasound I’ve had an emotional meltdown the day before. It’s almost like I begin grieving a potential loss if I lose this baby too. My husband is now used to this and readies himself to give me lots of hugs and affirmations in my downward emotional spirals.

For most, ultrasounds are an exciting time to see their little one in action. To find out the gender. To see the baby flip and kick. For me, it’s by far the most terrifying of experiences (I’ve now had 6 this pregnancy). When I arrive at the doctor’s office I normally waver between feeling like I am going to puke and cry. Once I walk in to the sonographer’s room my anxiety kicks in to high gear and I begin to sweat; my throat tightens up. My husband grips my hand and I tightly squeeze my eyes close until I hear the sonographer announce “There is a heart beat”. Which at every announcement tears begin streaming down my face.

Today at 19 weeks 5 days I am the most pregnant I have ever been.

I knew that the anatomy scan was a very big deal. My husband thought it was another routine check of the heartbeat so he chatted happily with the sonographer commenting on how active our son was while I sat in very tense silence for the 20 minutes it took to scan every single organ, bone and valve. I would occasionally ask the doctor. “All ok?”

Baby Ax (as we are calling him now) was perfect and growing about a week ahead of schedule.

The only potential complication they spotted was a low-lying placenta which can lead to placenta previa. All it really means is I may need a mandatory c-section. The low-lying placenta is most likely due to all the D&C’s I’ve had and scar tissue build-up.

I wish I could say that worry and fear is behind me. That I don’t wait to feel him kick or move every single day. That every time I let someone know that I am expecting I worry it could be jinxing the pregnancy. I pray I never have to untell anybody I tell about my second son. I hope they get to meet him and get to know him.

Even though my need for maternity pants happened three weeks ago, I waited until this last appointment to buy anything. I walked around with my pants completely unzipped and unbuttoned. Classy I know, but I could not bear the thought of having to return anything.

We are foregoing any announcement on our social media at this time. There are plenty of unoriginal announcements continually happening so I don’t feel the need to contribute. Every time somebody posts they are expecting I still get my breath taken away. March due dates are particularly the worst for me.

We will announce once he is safely in our arms. Until then acquaintances and past work colleagues can assume I am just getting chunky. 🙂

Flying Towards Motherhood

30,000 feet up, wheels up, hopes up, dreams up. Ready. Set. Go.

My journey to motherhood has been a bumpy one. A ride filled with potholes, flat tires and what has felt like a few hit and runs. I became a mother at 29 when I got pregnant and my son Blake was born still. I will become a parent at 33 when I hold my precious baby girl in my arms for the first time this upcoming Tuesday.

The last three months have been more like a first class flight, with zero turbulence. My husband and I were matched with birth parents in June and our Skype calls and email exchanges have been an adoptive parents dream. The birth parents (we will call them Eric and Kate) are smart, witty and all around good young kids who feel they can not give their little girl the life that she deserves. We lucked out and landed an adoption unicorn. No incarceration, no drugs, no crazy. I could not be more proud to have gotten the opportunity to know them as people and have them pick us to share our love with their daughter.

After we were matched with Eric and Kate I was apprehensive in having them get to know us and for us to get to know them. For me, it was such a vulnerable place emotionally when NONE of the control rests in our hands but only in theirs. I fought to stay emotionally unattached to not only them but also baby girl. What if they decided they didn’t like us? What if I emailed something wrong? What if they decided I was not the person they wanted to mother their daughter? That could have happened and technically happen up until three days after her birth.

And then… I got over it.

I decided to have a change of attitude and a change of heart for my daughter.

I would have missed out on all the joy and growth the adoption process has brought me had I have remained guarded by fear. My heart has been pulled wide open. The relationship that has unfolded in the past 63 days with Eric and Kate is one of friendship, trust and mutual respect. The magnitude of four people coming together with the common goal of having one child taken care of for her entire life has not been lost on me. I would have missed that. Eric, Kate and baby girl are and always will be my family now.

I can’t wait to share the story and this journey with baby girl when she is older. I can’t wait to tell her about her birth parents, our friendship and how she became our forever family. I can’t wait to tell her about the tears that were shed, the smiles that led to laughter and about how four people who lived across the country from one another came together to take care of her. I hope she is proud of her roots. I hope she is no stranger to this part of her story when she is older.

The pilot just announced we are on our initial descent. Time to put our tray tables away and seats in the upright position, we are landing to go get our baby.

Buying A Baby

Adoption (noun):

1. The act or process of beginning to use something new or different

2. the act or process of giving official acceptance or approval to something

The origin of the word adopt is from the Latin word  adoptare, (ad- + optare) which means to choose.

My husband and I have chosen to pursue adoption. Adoption was and has always been part of our path for creating a family. We just always thought our adopted child or children would be brought in to our family after we had our biological children. I’ve never looked at it as an alternative or last resort option. We get to choose to adopt. We didn’t get to choose infertility.

With us moving forward with adoption, we will continue to try for biological children as well, but this is the path we are on at this current moment.

As much as we are choosing to adopt I can not shake the feeling that I am buying a baby. The amount of money we are shelling out to take over parental rights from another human being feels a bit unsettling. Maybe this is a standard feeling amongst those new to the process but it is where I am at mentally. I wish I could feel like I was doing something good or noble. That’s what the word adoption denotes to me. Instead, I feel like I am fortunate enough to have enough cash to go out to the baby market and select what age, ethnicity and background I want to bring in my home to love.

Harsh? Absolutely!

Perhaps it was just the lengthy list of home study paperwork and tasks which we just completed. 

They were:

A 7 page BIOGRAPHY on each of us. (It required us to write about our families, childhood, parenting philosophy, education, relationship history, etc. etc. etc.) LOCAL CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK 

HEALTH STATEMENTS FROM A PHYSICIAN (personal fave) we had to get a physical enclosed forms for additional household members as needed.

FIVE (5) REFERENCE LETTERS (only two could be from relatives the other three must be non-relatives)

STATE/FEDERAL FINGERPRINT CHECK

 CENTRAL ABUSE HOTLINE RECORD SEARCH* & RELEASE OF INFORMATION 

 AFFIDAVIT OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER (which required us to take to a notary).

 ADOPTION DISCLOSURE (more forms and signatures)

 AUTHORIZATION FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION (more forms and signatures)

CONTACT & IDENTIFYING INFORMATION (copies of driver licenses, etc. etc.)

FIREARM SAFETY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (a had to say we had no firearms in the home)

 BIRTH CERTIFICATE(S) 

 DRIVER’S LICENSE(S) 

MARRIAGE LICENSE

INCOME TAX RETURN – provided a copy of the first two pages only of our latest income tax

INSURANCE VERIFICATION – provided a photo copy of the health insurance card (front and

back) that will begin covering your child at placement.

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION submitted paperwork to our tax accountant saying we can afford to buy the baby 😉

FAMILY MONTHLY BUDGET OUTLINED

I wish that all mother’s and father’s (adoptive and biological) had to get their backgrounds crawled through with a fine tooth comb in order to have a child. Regardless of paperwork we are thrilled and excited to be moving in this direction. Maybe, just maybe, it will still be the year of the baby for us. 🙂

Change of Heart

It took exactly one day after my failed IVF for me to realize that I am in this for the long run. Grief demands answers when more often than not there isn’t one. Prior to my second IVF attempt I had made a commitment to myself that I’ve already broken. I had decided that if it did not work that was the end of the road for me. My husband and I would pursue adoption and that would be it. I have longed for the “old me” whoever she is and was. I wanted to throw myself back in to my career with little regard of the physical toll it could take on me. I wanted to stay up late and drink too much wine. I longed to run myself ragged with travel and a full schedule of social activities. I have quickly realized that ship has sailed. That was the Jenna of my 20’s and I did not bring her along for the chapter of my 30’s.

The weekend after my failed cycle I had my WTF call with my doctor. He told me that the embryos transferred were beautiful and perfect and that science can only do so much. I inquired about donor eggs and he said that while he admired my openness to alternative options that I owed it myself to continue to try. With my history and my age of 32-years-old I have been told I have a good chance of not only conceiving with my own eggs, but naturally as well.  He was absolutely right. I was jumping the gun. I have a good 8 years to continue to try without pursuing donor eggs. I informed him that I needed an emotional break but would consider another cycle sometime down the road. I mentioned revisiting it in 6 months and he said that it would be no issue at all as my ovarian function wasn’t going to diminish that much in that time frame.

 He then told me about this woman in LA who is an acupuncturist that started a program called Seed Fertility (http://www.seedfertility.com) Seed focuses on the nutritional and mental aspects of fertility. Let me just tell you, this was/is the most genius recommendation my Dr. has had to date. The program recently launched online and is available to everyone for $199. For $299 you get two 1- hour coaching sessions with her.  (A drop in the bucket compared to our fertility treatment costs). Danica (the founder of the program) was told, at 32-years-old, she would never have her only biological children. At the time she had an FSH of 26. She said as a fertility acupuncturist she began to practice what she was preaching and at 37 years old she got naturally pregnant with her first child on her first try. My Dr. was her fertility doctor years ago which is how he became familiar with her practices.

 I think my Dr. saw right through me. While I put on a polished outwardly presentation, emotionally and spiritually my insides are a mess. Even though he is not in a position to address those topics Danica and her program are. The statistics of the program are as follows: Average person entering her program 38. Average time trying: 2 years. Average time to pregnancy upon completion of the program: 6 weeks. Yep, you just read that correctly 6 weeks. Immediately when I spoke to Danica I knew this program was for me.

 The entire program is based on “cultivating a healthy garden”. The soil is nutrition and the “weeds” are past emotional wounds, losses, etc. In order for my personal garden to grow I need to pull my weeds. As Danica told me after two sessions (one over the phone and one in person) I have a tendency to mow my weeds and not pull them.

 My personal program is focusing on the loss of my son and transitioning from grief to gratitude. It’s been emotionally painful for me to work through the program thus far. The online modules require a ton of introspection and journaling. What I have realized is that for me I am so fearful of another late pregnancy loss that I rather remain non-pregnant than get pregnant and lose the baby. It’s no wonder my cycles have failed. It’s not a mindset that I can proceed with. In addition to that realization it has also been  pulled out of me that I harbor resentment around the loss of my son. In trying to preserve his memory and legacy I’ve let my maternal instincts get the best of me. Without going in to too much detail, I’ve worked really hard to protect him.

So for now I am taking everything one day at a time and working to heal my emotional wounds.

 

I still have weeks left of the program. I am going to take my time making sure I feel everyone ounce of it and work through slowly so I can make sure all my weeds are pulled. If anybody is interested in the program check out the web site. While I am not pregnant as a result of it (yet) I would recommend for anyone who may be struggling with the dietary and emotional challenges of baby making.