My Daughter’s Birthday

Penelope

Our Sweet P entered the world last Tuesday 8/26… one of the most surreal days of my life.

We arrived at the hospital two hours before the scheduled C-section. The plan was that once the baby was born, and all was ok, she would be wheeled out to us where we would then escort her to the nursery. We were banded by the hospital as her parents which meant we could come and go from the nursery as we pleased.

Anxiously, we sat in the waiting room staring at our phones while glancing for a nurse to round the corner to tell us our daughter was born. My husband, the most cool-as-cucumber person ever, looked stricken with anxiety. For the first time in our relationship I could tell that he was completely overwhelmed with what was about to happen.

At 2:15 pm a nurse appeared and said “she’s here, come with me”. Armed with my infertility PTSD I immediately started peppering her with questions. “Did she come out crying?” “What was her APGAR?” “How much does she weigh?”  As we power walked down the corridor towards our daughter the nurse happily answered that she was 7lbs 4 oz, her APGAR score was a 9 and she had a healthy set of lungs on her.

As I saw her being wheeled towards us I began to cry. I thought it was going to take weeks to feel attached, perhaps even months to feel like she was mine and part of me.

It. Took. Seconds.

I put my hand on the incubator and with tears running down my face I said “hi baby, I am your mommy. You are so beautiful”.

penny

(Pictured above: the nurse bringing her to us)

On an ordinary Tuesday, my life changed for the better. I was blown away at the emotional connection and bond I instantaneously had with her. It doesn’t take giving birth to bond you to a child, it takes wanting to take care for and give love to a child that creates a bond.

Once in the nursery, they poked, prodded and measured her. It’s the most upset I’ve heard her to-date and was already tough for me to watch and she was only minutes old! Once she was cleared we were allowed to hold her and then eventually feed her. We were fortunate the hospital gave us a nesting room which was a standard patient room but we were allowed to stay with her overnight at the hospital until she was released.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 10.37.23 PM

(Pictured above: my husband keeping a very close eye on his just minutes old daughter.)

48 hours after her birth we were cleared to leave the hospital and take her home. I cried in the car all the way home. What a miracle she was and what a miracle she is for coming in to our life. After years of heartache and tears shed, the tears I got to cry that day were happy ones.

I can not advocate enough for adoption.  From the first day we started paperwork until the day we brought our daughter home it took 6 months. It  has truly been the year of the baby for us. It was our mantra when we started our last IVF cycle this past January. We did not know how a baby would come in to our life, but adoption brought us our daughter more quickly than my own pregnancy ever could have.

There are many roads to parenthood. I’m really blessed that mine led me to our Sweet P.

Advertisements

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.

From Another Mother

I am going to jump straight to the good stuff. I HAVE NEWS! I’M EXPECTING!

Not a biological baby, but a baby nontheless. We are cautiously expecting a precious baby girl due from another mother on September 2nd We were matched with a birth mother in a record time of just two weeks.

Our adoption home study was approved June 6th and we received the news on June 20th that we had been matched (which also happened to be my husbands 35th birthday).

After meeting with the adoption agency we were told we would be placed on a 6-month wait list before we were even shown to prospective birth parents. We were told it would take roughly a year after that to be matched. I don’t do lines. I never stood in lines waiting to enter a club in my early 20’s and I certainly wasn’t about to wait in line for my future child. So I took matters in to my own hands.

We started a Facebook page at the end of May announcing our plans to adopt. We asked our friends and family to share our story with everyone they knew. In the first week our Facebook page was up we had over 1,000 fans following our journey. The outpouring of love and support was tremendous. Even overwhelming. We had people whom we had never met reaching out to us to offer advice, support and potential birth mom leads. A college friend of mine who saw our story and connected to the page connected us with her next-door neighbor (whom I now call my adoption angel).

She connected us with the adoption attorney she had recently worked for her baby. Within two weeks of our page being live we had already been presented with 8 potential birth moms.

The past several weeks have been the greatest mind-fuck in the history of my ever. Nothing I experienced with my infertility traumas have come close to this.

I am in the process of preparing my heart and my home to be a mother to a little girl in just over two months, while simultaneously guarding my heart and my mind because there is always a chance that the birth parents decide to parent. In the infertility world I equate this to having to set up a nursery before embryo transfer.

A match does not guarantee a child. It is only a very promising and strong step towards parenthood. The birth parents have until 72-hours after the birth to change their mind. While I’ve quickly changed my Googling habits from searching for the meaning of my ovulatory cycle and twinges to baby swaddling and the best PRAM to purchase, it’s very difficult to remain indifferent to my current circumstances.

There is a huge part of me that wants to immediately set up a baby registry, start decorating the nursery and pick out a name. I’m in love with the idea of my potential daughter and think about her and the birth mom all day everyday. I desperately want to go shopping for little girl clothes and post something on Facebook about expecting. The problem is, she isn’t mine to claim quite yet.

The flip-side of the emotional excitement is the reality. We’ve already shelled out thousands and thousands of dollars for our attorney’s fees, the birth parents attorney’s fees and birth mother living expenses with the knowledge that should they change their mind we are stuck with a bill and get no baby. We could plan and read and love and end up empty handed.

So I have decided to approach the situation like a marriage. When my husband and I got married we eloped in France. We wanted to focus on the marriage and not the wedding ceremony. For this, baby girl is the wedding ceremony and parenting is the marriage. So I am spending the next 64 days focused on the marriage. It looks like it IS going to be the year of the baby after all. 🙂

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.

 

 

Attitude Of Gratitude- THANK YOU!

I’ve taken a few weeks off blogging to decompress after this past IVF, but I wanted to write a quick note and tell everyone who is reading this how thankful I am for you. The community of women online I have become part of during my fertility journey is pretty darn amazing. I am blessed beyond measure to have received an outpouring of such genuine support and love.

It’s funny because most of you I could walk by in any mall or grocery store in America and have no idea. Some of you I don’t even know by first name. Regardless of level of anonymity, I carry you guys with me and will forever. My husband often asks how people are doing because I fill him in on everybody’s journey.

When the ladies I am following get pregnant and carry full-term I am so elated for them. I celebrate with you. When there is a devastating news I am sad and often cry with you.

So thank you to all for giving me the gift of blogging friendship. Thank you for being my cheerleading squad and my virtual shoulder to cry on.

xo