Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 30- the unexpected gifts in life are the best of all...

GIRL made her appearance on a September evening in 2004. She was 10 days late. I pushed her out in 12 1/2 minutes. It was the day after my 43rd birthday. I missed having two children at 42 years old by 1 day. Our children are 9 months and 27 days apart. We like to round it up to 10 months so that it seems a little saner.

I was always scared of having a GIRL. Yet this GIRL has toppled me over. I adore her and struggle with her. She is her mother's daughter with a good mix of daddy's genes thrown in. Most of all, she is her own little person. She and BOY are everything to me. I am so very blessed.

We like to say that BOY brought GIRL to us. He wanted a little sister and he got one. We have been through quite a journey to become the family that we are today. I don't regret a moment of it. Well, maybe the Clomid! But, not really. I know in my soul that we were meant to traverse this path. That our GIRL would never have been born if not for BOY. And if our infertility treatments hadn't failed, we would never have had BOY & GIRL. And that is unimaginable. They are our life. Our greatest blessing and our biggest challenge.

BOY started walking when GIRL came home from the hospital! It was a bit nutty. Imagine trying to breastfeed and your other child is ricocheting off the furniture. You put the baby GIRL down and race over to rescue your little BOY, who needs you. He is not yet one year old. Then GIRL shrieks because of course she needs you. She is a newborn. You pick up BOY and race back to pick up GIRL. You wonder at your ability to cope. GOD must think you are a Wonder Woman. He must have gotten confused with that singing telegram costume you used to wear - the one with the leopard print and the whip. That wasn't Wonder Woman. That was ...something else. And so the race began...the first 2 years somewhat of a blur, yet we paused often for noting our great gifts. Our children.

We still maintain regular contact with BOY's birthmother. We've only seen her a few times since BOY has been born, but she has given us so much. And is our biggest cheerleader. She has taught us grace and courage. And we thank every day that she chose us to be BOY's parents- Forever. Sometimes E and I both forget that I didn't give birth to him. It is not any reflection on her, but just what happens when you love your children beyond what you could ever imagine. And the journey continues...

And so, my friends, that is the story of how we became a family. Thank you so much for sticking with me and reading along. I have so enjoyed your comments along the way. Our GIRL turned 3 in September and BOY turned 4 last week. They are the best of friends and have so much fun together, being so close in age. Every day is different, other than the continuum of feeling just a little insane. But, I look forward to the adventures ahead and know that there will be many. The unexpected gifts in life are the best of all...

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 29- You are FRIGGIN' kidding me!!!

Late January 2004
BOY is doing great! It's been a couple of weeks since his cleft lip surgery. He sailed through it. The hardest part was handing him to the nurse and watching her walk away ...down the hall, holding our BOY and hearing him screaming for us. The surgery took several hours. When it was done, the nurse came and got us and we were in the recovery room just as he was waking up. He was thrashing around, confused with all the wires and tubes attached to him. I had a bottle handy and he guzzled it per his usual style. The surgeon told us that they used to do tube feeding and not let the babies use their bottles or nurse right away, but they found that the stress on the baby and the crying was far worse on the healing process. The first night was hard. He was really hurting. And the pain medication seemed to bother him. But, after that it has been fine. The surgeon saw him last week and may want to do another surgery as the lip is pulling up a bit. We think he looks perfect. But, then we did before the surgery. He is our little treasure. Our long awaited child. Our miracle.

I am so...exhausted. I'm up with BOY every 2-3 hours, joyfully for the most part, but I feel tired much of the day. I'm sure it is the combination of having a newborn and also the stress of his having to go through surgery at 7 weeks old. Our birthmother, T, signed the final papers yesterday! The birthfather signed his papers a couple of weeks ago. We only await the court finalization in 6 months, but it is done. We are the legal parents of this amazing, adorable and lovable baby. But, most importantly, he became a child of our heart the night he was born and placed in our arms. We are his forever family.

A few days later
O.K., this seems totally insane, but I think I missed my period in December and this month, too. I've been so focused on taking care of BOY that I've been oblivious to my own body. And my boobs are KILLING me. This is ridiculous. I am not EVEN thinking that I might be pregnant. That would just be ...well, besides impossible, it would be just...well, impossible. ....

I am NOT going to go to the drug store and spend $15 on one of those pregnancy tests! Dammit. I've spent enough on those stupid tests over the years. This is just me being overtired, taking care of a newborn...

My period has never been this late. Oh, for the love of GOD, I guess I have to go get one of those tests. This is laughable. I have a 9 week old infant and I'm going to the drugstore to get a pregnancy test.

So, I have the pregnancy test. I feel like an idiot. An overtired, vividly imaginative and ...did I say overtired and sleep deprived? insane woman.

I guess I should take the test. E's on the computer in the office. BOY's asleep. Now is as good a time as any. It is certainly not going to turn pink. There is NO way that I'm pregnant. Well, we did have that spectacular night...mmmm, well, I guess it is possible. For another woman. In another life.

I peed on the stick. I'll check on it in 5 minutes. HOLY SH*T! It is turning F*cking PINK!!! Forget 5 minutes!!! You are FRIGGIN' kidding me!!! Sweet mother of GOD! Bollocks! Crap! F*CK! I've got to go show this to E. Maybe it isn't pink? Maybe I'm just so tired that my eyes are deceiving me.

I walk into our office.

E, can you look at this, please? Is this PINK?? I hand him the pregnancy test. It is friggin' screaming PINK.
Yes, it is pink, he says. It is pink.

He looks at me like a deer caught in the headlights...

To be continued...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 28- Tomorrow BOY goes into surgery

January 2004
BOY is now 7 weeks old and over 10lbs. He is an eating machine. No one can believe how quickly he polishes off his bottles. It is as if he is doing shots. I feel like I'm getting flashbacks to my bar hopping tequila days. Except he doesn't appear to get hangovers.

Tomorrow BOY goes into surgery. He was born with a cleft lip. We didn't know about it ahead of time, so we weren't prepared. And I think that truly was a blessing. If we had known ahead of time, that is what we would have focused on. Is he going to be alright? What will he look like? Instead we were thrown a curve. Here is the birth of our son by adoption, which in itself is not simple, and then the cleft lip on top of that. The labor & delivery nurses were quick to tell us that a cleft lip is very minor - cosmetic really. The palate was complete. No problems there. A cleft lip can be corrected by plastic surgery. Still, it is one thing to hear it and another thing to see your precious child with a cleft lip and not be worried. E and I never once considered that it was a problem. Our journey to becoming parents had brought us to BOY and he was meant to be with us. It was that simple.

So, I try to focus on the fact that the surgeon knows what he is doing. That he performs surgery on cleft lips all the time. That our little BOY is in good hands. That when he is older the girls will just think he is sexier with that small scar. Mysterious. Intriguing. That when he wakes up in the recovery room we will be there. But, he is only 7 weeks old and ...and...he is my son. And... I am very frightened.

To be continued...

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 27- The woman she's chosen to be the BOY's mother walks next to her

November 2003 - the next day

After last night's wild ride with the birthfather, it was hard to go to sleep once we got back to the hotel. We had a long talk with T and with our counselor and everything looks like it is going to move forward. Truthfully, we can't imagine otherwise. BOY's birthfather did sign his release for BOY to leave the hospital and now it is just up to T. She has been nothing but reassuring to us. She needs reassurance herself. And that is why her sister is here with her now.

We are sitting out in the lobby scared to death, as this is it. In 3 hours BOY is supposed to be released from the hospital into our care. It is a temporary legal arrangement, but we are all looking to the future and seeing it as a step toward the final adoption. I went in briefly to see T and it was obvious that she needed time with BOY and that I needed to give her space. She was sobbing and her sister was holding her. This is the time when I need to draw on reserves of strength that I didn't know I had. On faith. On courage. On hope. That all of this will happen. That our BOY will come home with us today. Meanwhile E and I sit here in an impersonal hospital lobby. Together, yet each alone with our thoughts. Afraid to voice our fears. Afraid to give them weight. Everything feels surreal and I am both desperate for this to happen and devastated by T's grief, as she feels almost like a little sister to me now. Spending time with her over these last two months has been very special. And she is special.

3 hours later...

They are walking as a group toward the hospital exit. Once outside the doors the soon-to-be mother is conscious of their unusual circumstances and that people are staring at them. It is probably not an ordinary sight. A birthmother being pushed in a wheelchair by her sister, followed by her family, holding the baby she carried for 9 months in her arms. The woman she's chosen to be the BOY's mother walks next to her. Both of them, tears streaming down their faces. Just outside the doors, the birthmother reaches out to the adoptive mother, handing her the tiny, cherished baby. They embrace. The adoptive father pulls up in his truck with the brand new infant car seat, which has been checked and rechecked 20 times or more. The boy is placed lovingly in his car seat. His eyes wide and awake, open to the world. Quick good-byes are exchanged. A promise of seeing each other in 3 months. The new parents drive away and their last glimpse of their precious birthmother, the woman who has given them everything, is one of love and heartbreak. Once they drive a few blocks, they pull over and get out of the truck - just to reassure themselves that BOY is indeed in their car. A miracle. An amazing grace. An open adoption. A day never to be forgotten. BOY is home with them on Thanksgiving eve.

To be continued...

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Monday, November 26, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 26 - headed home

Today we head back home. It is always hard to leave this little slice of Paradise. I'm hoping that the two flights will be low-key. I don't think I'm asking for anything unreasonable. Just to not have Gordon the train, a friend of Thomas the Tank Engine, do another face plant going 30 miles an hour embedding into my forehead. Oh, and maybe I'll get lucky and not get head butted by an overeager wiggly child. And not get pee dribbled on my ankle. Small things that mean a lot. To dream.....

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 25 - to say hello to him before saying good-bye

November 2003
The night BOY was born, there was quite an entourage waiting for him. Besides E and myself, there was my mom, E's brother and his wife and their two children. Our birthmother, T, had her mother and mother's husband, her father, her stepmother, her two half-sisters as well as the birthfather there. T's stepmother worked as a nurse at the hospital where BOY was born. She was an immense help. Especially because she was supportive of the adoption plan. When T had told her family that adoption was the choice she had made, it was very difficult for all of them. I think especially for her parents, who although were divorced, felt the upcoming loss of a member of their family. But, she was set on her path and they ended up supporting her and were there for her.

It was terribly hard to leave the hospital and go check into a motel. Our BOY was born! Spending a few hours with him in the wee hours of the morning, feeding him, holding him, touching him... created an instant bond. We were his parents. We wanted to spend every second with him.

The second day we spent the morning with BOY in the nursery as T was still recovering from the C-section, and then that afternoon she spent time with him and included her family. One of the most challenging parts in the adoption of BOY was being part of the education process for the nurses. Only two birthmothers with adoption plans had been through the hospital recently, and in both instances the birthmothers had changed their minds. Both were closed adoptions. we were with an open adoption plan. They didn't know what to make of us. It was confusing. To complicate matters, one of the nurses told me more than once that T "had been spending too much time with BOY." It unnerved me and underlined my own uncertainty. But, an important part of our own learning curve on Open Adoption was that Birthmothers need to spend time with their child before sending them into the arms of their adoptive parents-their forever family. Intellectually, I knew that this was right. That T needed to spend this time with BOY. To say hello to him, before saying good-bye. We had to trust that everything would be fine. And believe it, ourselves. However the nurse thought we were aliens. And I know she believed we were going to leave the hospital without our BOY. She had never seen a success story.

That evening, the birthfather came by and the four of us spent time together in T's room. We took lots of pictures and then E and I decided to give them some time with BOY and we went out to dinner. When we returned, we passed BOY's birthfather in the parking lot and he said something in passing ... I was going to change my mind, but I thought about it and I'm O.K. with it now. He was so casual about it that we didn't really take it in. We thought he was talking about weeks before and was just letting us know that he was on board. It wasn't until we walked into T's room and she said that the birthfather HAD CHANGED HIS MIND that it fully registered. But, I've convinced him that this is the best decision and that BOY belongs with you, she said.

To be continued...

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 24 - a family reunion

I am in the Gulf of Mexico for a huge family reunion at my mom's place. Children are everywhere. Cousins, whom I treasure, but rarely see. Stuffing ourselves with collards and fresh shrimp, oysters - raw and baked, and tonight a BBQ feast. Life is good.

It is a new experience to be here in November. I am used to the heat of the summer, the way the humidity perches on your skin. The luxury of a warm ocean. The greys of the oak trees and rich greens of the shrubs stand in contrast to the white sugar sand.

Last night I sat with my cousins, reminiscing and drinking gallons of sweet tea. This has been a special time and I am soaking it up. Hearing the older generation speak of the generations before them, and sharing stories, is almost like going back in time. Or maybe they are here, with us.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 23- suddenly, we were parents

November 23, 2003
And so it was that 4 years ago tonight our son came to us. Through the miracle and blessing of open adoption. He was born just after 10pm, after 24 hours of labor. T had wanted me to be with her in the room, to be the first one to hold BOY as I was going to be his mommy. Her words. As it turned out she had to have a C-section. I was sad about not sharing that experience with her, but nothing could disappoint on the night our son was born. And as it turned out, other than the nurse, I was the first one to hold him. And I learned how to feed him. E and I were awestruck. He was so tiny and seemed so delicate and breakable. Suddenly, we were parents. We had been waiting forever and now the time was here. Our time. Our destiny. Our chance to know true love.

To be continued...

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 22- larger than life

They were brash and bold. Jostling each other and just taking up Not space on the airplane, there was that. But, they were alive and full of themselves and larger than life. Boys, really. The back of their heads looked delicate. So...tender and vulnerable. So, fragile. Shaved for duty. They were on their way to Iraq. These boys, so very young with a date on their driver's license that makes them a man. Ready. To go.

I wanted to tell them to wait. To look around. To see all the moments and savor them. And maybe the high fives and knuckle to knuckle jabs were just that. I wondered about their mothers. Who are they? And aren't we all their mothers? All of us? How are they coping knowing that their precious child is headed for Iraq and might not come back? Ever.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 21- a meme of 7 random or wierd things

The lovely Mountain Mama over at Careful What you Wish For has tagged me for a meme. Mountain Mama was the first one to welcome me to NaBloPoMo, and she did it in that fabulously, warm Australian way. (For those of you following my story, you simply must go over to her site. The story of how she became a Mama is truly miraculous.)

So, here are the meme rules:

1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.

2) Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.

3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

And since you all have been breathlessly waiting for my 7, here goes:


1) In my 20's I worked for the Eastern Onion Singing Telegram company as a variety performer. Could I sing? No. But, that was the entertainment. I performed an array of characters from Fifi Ze French Maid to Officer Goodbody...(in my 20's y'all, in my 20's) Sadistic Sadie (skintight leopard costume & whip included.) One of my favorite characters was The Preggo Gram. Basically you'd show up somewhere, frequently some corporate office, and go off into a tirade on some poor sot whose misfortune was to have this thrust upon him. He was accused of knocking me up in front of the entire office. The venues were anywhere and everywhere. A couple of times I did them in the stands at the Atlanta Braves Stadium on national television. Yes. I did. *sigh* Those were the days....

2) I LOVE licorice. Not the red kind. That is NOT licorice. That is candy. The only true licorice is black. And the best kind I've had lately is from, of course, Trader Joe's.

3) I have huge ears. They practically flap. I tried a sexy, short haircut once. It didn't work. The ears were THERE. My ears are so big that sometimes when I am sleeping the top of my ear gets bent and I wake up with a sore ear for hours.

4) This home is the longest place I've ever lived in. It has been 7 1/2 years. Before this house I lived in 27 previous homes or apartments. That is 27 moves since I was born. This is not including various hotels in-between moves. I have lived in Lincolndale, NY; Westport, CT; Mogadishu, Somalia; Beirut, Lebanon; Dover, NJ; Atlanta, GA; Tallahassee, FL; New York City, NY; and Southern California. Each place had magic. Lebanon is forever in my heart. Just north of Los Angeles is finally where I feel at home.

5) I adore books. My maternal grandparents, who retired in Virginia, had a room in their home that was called The Library. And it was. And so much more. I aspire to have that someday in my fantasy house. I was in the Library Club when I was in 8Th grade. Yes, the Library Club. [We were hotties hovering over the card catalogue.] I currently have library cards for 3 different regions within a 20 mile radius.

6) I hate sugar substitutes! Any of that fake, chemical stuff. Bad for me. Bad for you. Don't do it. Am proud. Nothing like real sugar flowing through the blood stream.

7) I have several boyfriends. You're not the only one, by GOD, Mrs. G! E knows about it. [Well, not about Mrs. G.] He's cool with it. The line-up includes: Viggo, Josh, Ralph, Russell, and many, many others ...but, who has time to list them all??

Are you still awake? Good. So, I was going to leave this up to you....if anyone would like to participate in the meme, please do. Just let me know that you did it, as I would love to come over and read about YOU. And now I tag the following ladies: From the Frontlines, The Happy Geek, Ziff-Niffer, Mom of 6 Malloy Boys, Mama Milton, All Adither, and...Kind of Crunchy Mama.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 20- ....there he was on the ultrasound monitor!

October 2003

The sound of his heartbeat filled the room. It was strong, loud and real. And then...there he was on the ultrasound monitor! Such tiny arms and legs, and a brief glimpse of his little face too quickly turned away. Suddenly, there was a quick movement of his hand. As if he was saying.....Hello, Mommy, I'll be with you and Daddy soon.

I wish you could experience this
, T said.

Oh, but I am, but I am... I said.

To be continued...

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Monday, November 19, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 19- And we are....matched!

Mid-September 2003
She was smaller than I had imagined and so pretty. Her voice was soft spoken, yet she had an infectious laugh. And fun flip-flops. She said it was all she could wear. I liked her right away. And so GOD, 20 years old. I was old enough to be her mother. Her belly was huge! And I was mesmerized by it. It was hard to imagine that she would make it until the due date, in early December.

We had talked on the phone, after we had exchanged emails. It had taken us over an hour to compose an email back to her when she first emailed us. We wanted to say the perfect thing, to reassure her that we were the ones. To let her know that we cared that her father was dying and that, yes, we wanted an open adoption, too. Since our adoption agency has birthmothers from all over the country, we fully expected that she would write back that she lived in Ohio, or somewhere at least a plane ride away. She lived an hour and a half away! Of course, we Google mapped her location! And read up on her small town.

It was hard to believe a week had passed since the first email exchange, and here we were - all of us, E, myself, our birthmother T, our counselor and soon... the birthfather. The counselor had told us that we were lucky. In many situations, especially when the birthfather is not a boyfriend anymore or a husband, you never get to meet the birthfather. I hadn't found that too reassuring. T had found out she was pregnant after they had already broken up. He was our wild card. T seemed pretty sure that this was what she wanted, an adoption plan. They were still friends, T said. And she had talked him into coming. He hadn't wanted to. And then she had convinced him that this was best, that it would be helpful for all of us to meet.

He walked in the coffee house squinting against the light. He was about E's height, average, but so young and covered with tattoos. It was hard to see him through the tattoos, but he was there. He showed up. And he didn't even have to come. This was her plan. He didn't have much to say, but he was certainly amicable and seemed appreciative that we so appreciated him. If you think about it, it is all a little odd. Strangers meeting and discussing the future of an unborn child. A much wanted and loved child to a set of potential parents. And another child having a child... too soon, yet having the maturity to choose another family to adopt him.

Yes, it is a boy! T confirmed it when we noticed that she referred to the baby as a him. We are ecstatic!

It's been an emotional meeting, this first time. Yet, much was discussed and some of the paperwork has been signed to allow the adoption to move forward. At one point, huge tears started rolling down T's face and she excused herself to go to the bathroom. I cannot imagine what that must have felt like. To go to the back, alone and try to pull yourself together. Knowing that you are going to let go of this precious baby. Knowing that you are making the right decision for the baby and for you, but that knowledge breaks your heart. She is our Goddess. She is something. This birthmother of our future son. And we are .....matched!

To be continued....

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 18- Nominations and axplosions au TUTU

....My Christmas present came early this year, Jennifer over at Ziff-Niffer has nominated me for a couple of 2008 Blogger's Choice Awards. Damn, girlfriend! I've never been nominated for anyTHANG.

Well, there was that, that, that time. The time I got the Most Promising Newcomer Award for best bust line.

The THRILL was tremendous. As you can see....

But, like many, many other nominees, alas, I did not win and my life was never again that exciting...

Until now....

One of the nominations was for Hottest Mommy Blogger. Hahahaha HICCUP, excuse me I've had to do a shot of Black Jack to really take this in. Hottest Mommy Blogger. Well. So. When I went to the Blogger's Choice Awards site to check out the other nominees in this category - of which there are, I think at least 10,000, it was quite the education. I am in amazing company. From the Couture Mommies to the Pole Dancing Mommies and in-between. Bottom line is this: If anyone calls me hot these days, I've got to take it and bank it. For those UM... so many days when my sleep deprived face screams at me in the morning mirror - What the hell happened to you!? You had two children after 42! Are you insane?

The other nomination was for Best Parenting Blog. .....................................................deep, contemplative ......SILENCE. Mmmmm, maybe it was all those stories about poop. Or maybe those stories about ....poop. Or, maybe because ...well, oh bollocks, I'll just take the nomination and shut-up already.

So, in my teenage giddy-like excitement, I slapped those two nomination badges up there on your right. The only time I'll ever tell you to lean right. And I hopped around to other nominated blogs and no one, but no one had their badges on the top of their blog. So, now it appears that I am bragging. Can I brag for just one day, please? As that Park Ranger lover, who really is a hottie over at Oh, the Joys says....OH...THE ... SHAME. I have committed a blogging faux pas. A gaffe, a bungle, botch, boner, flub, embarrassing mistake. And yes, boner does have other meanings. ...Apparently these nomination badges should be just a wee bit down the page, like several leagues, so that you can unearth them casually - like it is nothing. Just a day like any other. I stand corrected. I shall move them down the page....well, tonight - no tomorrow, well maybe tomorrow. After I've let the fun, giggly feeling sit in my belly for a while. The feeling that someone, besides my mother, thinks I'm worth nominating - at least for today.

And, just in case you think I'm exaggerating on the POOP explosions. As I was writing this very post, my GIRL calls me from the bathroom. I cannot even BEGIN to describe the sight that awaited me. Poop trails. Everywhere. Poop down her legs, poop on her tutu, yes her TUTU. Poop smeared on the toilet seat, poopy panties in the toilet, poop on the floor, poop on her hands. Just a Sh*t load of poop. So, after I cleaned it all up, BOY comes barreling in here buck naked just as I was about to hit the Publish Post button and announced, "I had an AXPLOSION. An axplosion."

But, even AXPLOSIONS galore cannot lessen your kindness in nominating me, Jen. Thank you, I am truly SO touched.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 17- The email that would change our lives forever

September 2003
Tonight E and I were getting ready to go out to hear a friend's band at a local club. I thought I'd check my email while he was still primping. God knows, the man takes longer than I do in front of the mirror and that is saying A LOT. I sat down in front of the computer with my kick ass Rod Stewart-like boots ... red snakeskin with back zippers, just over the ankle. Niiiice. [E bought them for me. He is really GOOD.] And, with "I'm over 40 and got nothing to lose baby" attitude, I checked my email. And this is what I found...

Dear E & J,

My name is T. I am looking for adoption parents. But there is one thing I have to ask. It would be very important to me that I can be apart of your life and the child. I am have a hard time giving my child up but i know someone else can give him what he needs

I only ask because my father is going to pass away soon and I cant handle losing another person in my life. So I need to know how you feel about this. I looked through all the families in here and you were the ones even the baby started kicking when I read your profile. Well, please write back and let me know I would truly love to have my baby be yours and I know you would be wonderful parents.


OH, MY GOD!!!!! E! Come here quick! E!!! COME IN HERE!!!

To be continued....

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Friday, November 16, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 16- These are a few of my favorite things

The Oh so Clever Mrs. G from Derfwad Manor. Yes, Derfwad. You must know that there is no one better at the intellectual riposte and she will make you laugh OUT LOUD. Well, she has challenged her fans, of them there are many, to post our favorite things. So, I rise to the challenge, Mrs. G. Also, please check out her post today to get all her lovey links to other extremely creative talents in the blogosphere. Aaah...yes, we all aspire to be as witty as you, my Mrs. G. Sshhh...Mrs. G has an especially soft spot in my heart because she is from my generation. THE GENERATION I might know growing up with fluffernutter sandwiches, moon pies, slinkys, pogo sticks, Easy Bake ovens and later...Farrah Fawcett hairdos, leg warmers, riding around with boys in Trans Ams [well, that was me - haven't verified that Mrs. G was so easily moved], and of course mood rings and Puka shell necklaces. And then... there was the Madonnaesque lace wardrobe of the 80's - maybe we shouldn't go there. And so, Mrs. G.... I salute your generosity in spreading the linky love! And here is my list [by no means complete, but just winging it off the top of my head, which contains a rather smaller brain this morning - despite the lack of hangover]:

Favorite Things

Chocolate covered caramels with pecans - otherwise known as Clouds - from Trader Joe's. Pure decadence....

My husband's hands. Well, yes, THAT. But, I was referring to their beauty. His hands are well lived, rough and toughened. Someday I will photograph them. In black and white.

The curve of BOY's eyelashes on his cheek as he sleeps.

Being in a movie theater after the lights have gone down and the crowd quiets...knowing that hopefully I will be swept away by a story and transported to a different place - all while sitting still.

The seat warmer in my van. Honey, nothing beats warming up your cold ass on a chilly morning.

Being a mother. It is what I wanted for so long and is more than I ever could have imagined. The best thing I've ever done.

The way my GIRL says, Femember for remember, Doe for No, amimals for animals, and used to say elemens for elephants. I should correct her. I really should. But, this preciousness is hard to let go of. For me.

The few little freckles left on my husband nose. A smattering. A lasting touch of the sun on a child's face long ago.

The smell of a good cup of coffee.

Jack Daniels and Coke. Jack Daniels and ginger ale. Jack Daniels and ... O.K., just Jack Daniels.

A really good red wine with a bunch of stinky cheeses, preferably from France -served with my brother-n-law the baker's fresh bread. Brother-n-law also from France. Sister made good choice, Kimosabe.

Oh, hell anything chocolate. I'm really not that picky.

Lying in bed listening to waves crashing on the beach.

Swearing like a sailor. LOVE curse words of any kind. British curse words from bloody to arse and of course bollocks. As a child growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, I learned quite a few Arabic turn of phrase...but, alas they are too long to put here. The etymology I find fascinating. Shouldn't there be a college course. Is there one somewhere?


Any book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Anything. She is a brilliant, funny and mesmerizing storyteller.

Laughing until I cry. My whole body is suddenly loose and relaxed.

Any book. Period. By Erica Jong. If I could be a writer like Erica Jong.... She is sexy, daring and flat out intelligent. Fear of Flying was just the beginning. And then there is her poetry.

Lying in a hammock reading a good book in the quiet of a summer afternoon.

Aromatherapy oils.


Massage. Again, O.K., THAT.

Hearing my children giggle.

Sitting outside on a dark night with a warm sweater and looking up at the stars.


Watching my husband, E, performing in a play - the acting juices flowing, his heart and soul right there. It is seeing his passion in all its glory.

Making people laugh in person. It is not often, but when it happens it is fun.

Having time with just the girlfriends - hanging out with a great glass of wine, good food and lots of chatter.

Having TIME.

O.K., dressing up like Ginger for Halloween. I did it once 6 years ago and again this year. It is flat out fun to be a red head. And those fake eye lashes make you feel really girly.

Hiking. Anywhere.

Lying on the beach and feeling the sun on my skin.

Body surfing in the ocean and riding the wave all the way in to where my belly hits the sand.

Watching my husband E play with our children. Intricate games in the living room like camping with flashlights or wrestling in the front yard.

There are many more, but I have to end with this one...

Meeting so many incredible women bloggers. Who are terrific writers. Funny and warm and have been so welcoming to a newcomer.

Thanks, Mrs. G, this was fun.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things...

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 15 - con artists posing as birthparents

June 2003
One of our couple friends just lost their birthmother, along with their hopes and dreams for a baby due in two months. And what they least cared about, but what now seems significant - a lot of money. They had matched with a couple in Arizona, met with them a couple of months ago and had been sending them money through their attorney to cover living expenses while they wait for the baby to be born. After not being able to get in touch with the birthparents, our friends had notified their attorney, who managed to track down the landlord. The couple had skipped out and basically trashed the apartment. Gone. Vanished. It turns out they are professionals and had conned 3 other couples before our friends.

Our friends are absolutely devastated. It doesn't even begin to describe the heartache. The broken trust. The hopes of a darling baby in their arms has gone. For now. They have to recoup. I hope and pray that their lawyer helps them connect with another birthmother soon. When they are ready.

This is one of those horror stories that gives adoption a bad name. There are so many more happy, successful adoption stories, but you rarely hear about those. And it is heartbreaking to see our friends go through this. They didn't make it to our group this week, understandably. What could they say?

People choose all different avenues to pursue adoption. We made the decision to go through an agency because it felt more sure. Not that you can ever be sure. But, the agency has so much in place. Free counseling for the birthmother before the adoption and for her entire life. Counseling for us as we wade through this process. Ideally not matching with a birthmother until she is further along in her pregnancy and has had time to really think about all of her available options. And the belief that open adoption, because it is healthier for all concerned, most especially the children, is less frightening to birthmothers - if that is what they desire as well. It is times like this when I question the ways of God.

To be continued...

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 14- officially entering the melee

May 2003
I've been a member of the infertility organization RESOLVE for a few years now. I am a hot line volunteer a couple of days a week. My job is to call back the people, mostly women, who have left a message on the voicemail and need various kinds of information. It is something that makes me feel good - to help other women going through difficult times trying to have a family. Back in September, I decided that I wanted to create an adoption support group for couples, since there wasn't one in our area. So one Saturday a month, E and I host an adoption group for couples in our home. We have 4 couples who come regularly -as well as some other people who float in and out. Not everyone feels comfortable discussing their feelings in a group, but for others, including myself, it is a lifesaver. All of us are waiting. We are all pursuing adoption via different avenues. Two of us with agencies and two with attorneys. All of us waiting. That is the true common thread that holds us together. One couple has been waiting over 3 years. He jokes whenever someone new has come to the group and says, "If you are here for anger and bitterness, we are the perfect example." He says it in a joking manner, and it is actually very funny - but, pain is behind it. E and I have officially just entered the melee. And a melee it can be...

And so the official wait has begun... Our birthmother letter is done! Yeah! So, it will be mailed out to all potential birthmothers and then next month it will be on the agency's web site. Currently there are about 250 other waiting families - just with our agency. I'm trying not to focus on that. I have to believe that our birthmother will find us and that it will all make sense in the end.

To be continued...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 13- finishing the Dear Birthmother letter

April 2003

It's been 3 months since my stepmother died. I like to think that wherever she is now, she's looking down on us and is sending hopeful, positive energy. The Dear Birthmother letter is almost done. Almost. We're on our 3rd draft, but it feels close. It has to fit on the front and back of one sheet of paper (no shorter, no longer) and pictures have to be in there, too. I'm actually having fun with the layout. I like that kind of thing. And then there's...drum roll please...THE COUPLE PHOTO. The couple photo that jumps out at you. That says, we would be the best parents ever. Choose us! But, it has to say it in a way that doesn't appear desperate. Get a couple who have tried to have a family for years and years without success, and well... they may be just shy of desperate. Who wouldn't be? But, no one is supposed to know that. You must appear happy, but not desperate. Appealing, but not desperate. Intriguing, but not desperate. Look like you are in love, but not desperate. We did one set of pictures at the beach. Great setting, but the sunlight was too harsh and bright and we were squinting. I guess birthmothers don't like squinting. Even if you look like you are having fun at the beach in CALIFORNIA. Go figure.

That has been one of the hardest parts for us, going with what the counselor recommends. Some of it seems just... wrong. But, we have to believe that she knows what she is doing. God knows, we don't. Sometimes it feels like we are stepping over land mines. Anything could just blow up in our faces. My sister-n-law is taking pictures of us this weekend at a local park. The roses are in full bloom and the trees are blossoming, so hopefully we can get some good, natural shots. See the happy couple sitting in nature. Here's hoping it works. Meanwhile I'm working on my list of projects, things to do while we wait, and wait... The agency told us to expect the wait to be 6 months to a year and a half. So, I'm thinking 1 year. That is what I have planted in my consciousness. I can live with that. There is an end in sight. And our baby will be there.

To be continued...

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Monday, November 12, 2007

NABLOPOMO - Day 12 - the hush-hush well of secrets, firemen secrets

One of my favorite bloggers, Oh the Joys, has a thing for Park Rangers. As well she should. I, on the other hand, have a THANG for firemen. Apparently everyone does. Women, children, men, women, women, and did I say...women? How is it that firemen are so damn good looking, wide-shouldered and irresistible? At times it seems just ...unreasonable. Well, only that every single one appears to be all of the above. Just what is it? What divine intervention has created this delectable vision of manhood?

Take this morning. I was treating myself to an iced mocha after I dropped the kids off at daycare and before I sat down here to do my barn storming/job hunt. Hopefully a less bizarre chore than last week's foray. As I waited for my mocha, a fireman walked in. Uniform crisp. Impossible hair thick enough to run your whole arm through for God's sake. And so...polite. I had to truly bite my lip from asking him, "I promise I'm not coming on to you, I'm happily married, but why DO you think it IS that you firemen are all SO fine?" I was THAT close. I should have. And he was even sexy walking away! Walking. Away. Now, I'm kicking myself that I didn't ask him. Not just that I can always use a boost after dealing with two 3 year olds first thing in the morning, well, there's that. But, maybe, just maybe I might have tapped into the hush-hush well of secrets, firemen secrets. And he would reveal the answer to this very important question of too hot for me, firemen. I mean, it is really just unbelievable to have this many hotties under one local station roof. And they have hoses for God's sake and slide down poles. My how the imagination can wander.

So, I'm lame. I admit it. I could have asked the question millions, probably gazillions of women ask every day, Why is it that firemen are so drop dead gorgeous? I would have had the jewel in the crown. The piece de resistance au firemen. The nolo contendere. But, maybe this is an answer that is better left unknown. I mean, it would cut down substantially on my fantasy life if I knew the denouement. How much deliciousness to just let that one slide... off the radar. All I know is that around a fireman, suddenly Mae West inhabits me, my shoulders slink back, my hand comes to rest on a lush hip, my eyebrow arches and .... Honey, you can climb MY ladder anytime... floats unspoken, hanging in the air.

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Note to my readers

For those of you following my NABLOPOMO trail of telling the story of how we became a family, thank you for reading. Just a quick note to let you know that I will, obviously, be breaking up the story at times. Although the journal entries were a springboard, I have been recounting by memory the steps along the way. Some of the journey is painful to go back to and I need to break it up for my own refueling, so to speak. Thanks for the patience and for tuning in. And most importantly for all the loving, caring comments. The blogosphere is truly a remarkable place and I have found a community of fellowship.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 11- I don't have the mojo

It is Sunday night
and I don't want to write
cause I've had enough
of my own stuff

But, I'm gonna keep
like a follower of sheep
writing and blathering
even though it's unflattering

NaBloPoMo, I don't have the mojo
Sometimes it's right, but it ain't tonight
So, let's just move on
before I burst into song

I'll do us all a favor
before it gets much later
Na Blo Po Mo
can just blow!

No hard feelings.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 10- thinking of a new life when death is coming

January 2003

We've made a couple of attempts writing The Birth Mother Letter, but it either sounds stilted or fake or both. Not who we are. As much as we want to "fit" what the agency recommends, we have to be authentic. I believe that our baby will come to us if we are true to that on paper.

The hardest part is feeling loose and happy enough to write it. My stepmother is dying of bladder cancer and my mind and heart are with my dad. And the thoughts pumping through my head are not happy ones. I just came back from a long weekend visit, at their request, and it looks like she will be leaving us soon. She has been my stepmother for 24 years. We haven't always had the smoothest relationship, but she has been there and I love her. Most importantly she loves my dad.

Several years ago, my stepmother took me on a trip to N. Georgia to walk a labyrinth. It was my first introduction to a labyrinth. The time together was special and then walking it in silence with the back drop of the N. Georgia mountains was extraordinary.

She's quite something. After working for the State for many years, she retired and started her own business. One of the things she did was write a handbook on caring for babies born with AIDS. This was back in the 80's and she was cutting edge. She's also been very actively involved in the YMCA since she was in college in Kansas. Recently she became an ordained Minister of the Kabbalah faith.

The other night my father awakened to find my stepmother not in bed. He looked for her, everywhere. He finally found her downstairs in the playroom known as Hippo's Room. She was playing with the Thomas the Tank Engine trains, setting up the tracks. Dad asked her what she was doing. She told him that she was waiting for J to come over and play. J is my 8 year old nephew. It was 3am. Then my father had to get her back upstairs and she was agitated and confused. I can only imagine how painful that must be for him.

My stepmother is in a great deal of pain. She has neuropathy in both feet, which causes severe pain and burning upon walking - a side effect of the chemo. I think my father is getting much closer to calling in hospice. But, for now, he goes it alone.

My needs are great for a child. But, death is coming for my stepmother and it is hard to think about a life joining us and what it will take to get there.

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Friday, November 9, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 9 - Well at least job hunting is entertaining

So. Yeeees. Looking for a job. Big change. All that. When was the last time I wrote about it? A long ass time ago. So, I am now going full steam ahead trying to land an Executive Assistant job. That is what I did in my former life - BK [before kids.] I've been doing quite a bit of networking, joined the organization Linked In, and registered with an agency that does job placement -direct hire. Today was my first interview. My first foray out into the job market after almost 4 years. Quite odd. Yet, good.

I drive up to the interview 15 minutes early and relatively intact of mind, despite being woken up X4 by BOY who had nightmares, but who's counting? Most surpringly my clothes appeared to be unblemished by blobs of food or sticky substances. A good morning overall. After about 20 minutes of B.S.'ing with the male receptionist (perhaps a sign of a progressive employer?) and filling out a job application - even though I had a resume and was practically copying down word for word what was on the resume...who IS the idiot who has you do this repetitive crap? After all that, I was ushered back into the bowels of this place. And I mean bowels. It was dingy, dim and did I say dingy and dim? No windows. None. So, I follow the hiring manager back to her office. She apologizes for the strong food smells. Her office is adjacent to the kitchen. Niiice. We sit at what can only be described as a patio table for two. A patio table. You know - little round table and little round chairs. And she launches into a description of the office/boss/job. It went something like this.

This company is owned by Dr. G and his wife, Miss D, who is a nurse. Your job would be to take care of Dr. G. Occasionally there is "tension" between the two of them. You need to be able to stay out of that. She may ask you to do something, it might be something that interferes with your work. You have to make sure it doesn't interfere with your work with Dr. G. This hospice and home care business is their passion. Dr. G also owns a production company and recently produced a short film with his daughter. (Everyone thinks they are a filmmaker here.) The assistant will get a Blackberry as he communicates primarily by texting and that way you will be able to access emails wherever you are at all times. Dr. G is very generous and gives loans to employees. They will be on payment plans set up by you and they will pay you. You will be responsible for making deposits at the bank. Occasionally, he may have you run to the store and get something for one of his kids. If so, he'll give you a wad of cash [yes, she really said that] and ask you to go get it. He is very active in politics and has been quail hunting. He is a Republican. {There could have been the sound of a coughing fit, but I restrained myself.} He flies on a private jet pretty much everywhere. Well...he may have flown first class this summer..... no it was a private jet. He will need you to be flexible. Two days a week he comes in at 4:30pm and would want to go over things with you at that time. You would have to stay late, but you could work flex hours on those days - coming in later. (Gee, thanks!) So, does this sound like something you'd be interested in?

Well...let me think about it. Let me see if I have this right. What you are looking for is basically a chump who is up for receiving sucker punches as the boss and his wife duke it out. Then you need someone who is very good at accounting, especially watching all those P's & Q's of wads of cash moving through. The use of a Blackberry would be outstanding so that I could receive text messages all through the day and night. He's a staunch Republican, so I would have to stay out of the way during hunting season. And my office is that lovely one that you just showed me with piles of upturned file boxes (probably the fury of the former assistant) and a sliding glass partition so that he can holler at me and no windows. Alrighty then!

Well, at least job hunting is entertaining.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 8 - RRRIIIINNNGGG, the timer of failed infertility treatments

December 2002

I'm often asked by friends who are still on the infertility treatment roller coaster how I stopped. How I got off the ride. I don't think there is a simple answer. I wish there were. It would be nice if you could just pull a switch. If there was a magic number of treatments and if you didn't "succeed" in getting pregnant you would hear a RRRRIIIINNNGGGG!! and know you're done. The TIMER OF FAILED INFERTILITY TREATMENTS we could call it. See, I'm not completely healed. I'm shouting in blog speak.

There wasn't one turning point for me. Although before the last IVF cycle E and I had talked and decided that it would be our last hurrah, [God, that actually sounds like something fun], it had been building for a while. A series of small deaths along the way. The little deaths. Those tiny embryos full of hope - fragmented, cracked. Would it have been different if we had had perfect grade A, no fragmentation 4STAR embryos? Maybe. As I've said before, you start out small -baby steps and before you know it time has passed and you're going under general anesthesia and having eggs extracted from your ovaries. And the Science is so amazing and the fertility clinics are hopping with hope. And you see the happy couples everywhere. Or the illusion of them.

The time that I took to just live and breathe and not be an infertility patient was a life saver. I devoured books on everything from loss to adoption to living child-free, with some good trashy novels thrown in. E said that he really needed the time and I feel very blessed that he did. It gave me the time to really think about what I wanted. Was it more important for me to have a biological child than to not have a child? And it is not. I feel that my life will not be complete until I become a mother. I have so much love to give and the beauty of adoption is that it may take a while, a long while, for your baby to come to you...but, your baby will come to you. And I'm going to be a mother. And that is a wondrous feeling. After all the almosts, I'm ready for the finale.

To be continued...

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 7 - there will be a baby at the end of this story, by GOD

October 2002 we are celebrating our 7th anniversary and instead of the 7 year itch, we are going to embark on new territory. We are going to become parents! WhooHOOO!! Yes, it is true. We have decided to adopt. I am terrified! And ecstatic! All at the same time. We just finished a weekend intensive workshop on open adoption at the adoption agency that we chose. There is SO much to do. We have to fill out a list of forms about a foot long, have physicals, letters of reference to our character, have our home inspected, meet with a social worker and answer very personal questions on parenting, have our income verified, write our autobiographies, get finger printed for a criminal background check, and plunk down money. Oh, and minor detail...write a Dear Birthmother letter that will stand out from the 250 letters from the other waiting families that are also registered with our agency. No problem! Normally, I would be highly offended by the fact that not only have I had to go through multiple infertility treatments with my legs spread-eagled and my body a scientific experiment - a.k.a., a human pin cushion with anger issues and hot flashes, but now we have to PROVE ourselves. Now that we are embarking on adoption, we have to "prove" that we will be fit parents. So, I could be very angry about that. But.... I am NOT because... I am just so DAMN happy that finally, finally I will at the end of this road become a mommy. It may take a year, maybe longer. But, it WILL happen. There will be a baby at the end of this story, by GOD. There will. AMEN. HALLELUJAH.

To be continued....

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Works-For-Me-Wednesday- how to get munchkins to eat veggies?

So, here it is again backwards day at Works-for-me-Wednesday at Shannon's blog, Rocks in my Dryer. And my question to you brilliant Mommys at large is this... How to get my two children BOY & GIRL, ages 3 and 3, yet not twins (which really has very little to do with this question) to eat veggies? As babies they gobbled baby food jars with veggies. Now...I am never clever enough to outwit them. So, please tell to do it! Thanks in advance.

Don't forget to stop by Rocks in My Dryer to see all the questions posted on backwards day and to pick up wonderful ideas!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 6 - a needed segue into potty humor

Yesterday, I was getting out of the shower, drying off and GIRL said, where are those things that move around?

I thought it VERY positive that she didn't ask about those things "hanging around."

Today, I was fixing BOY some oatmeal and a large PFFTOOT issued forth from his bottom. What was THAT? I asked. POPCORN, he said.

O.K., these are the things that get me through my days...

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Monday, November 5, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 5 - hope, reassurance and possibility

February 2002

The metal chair felt really cold and hard, or maybe it was just because I was so nervous. And excited. I grabbed E's hand, always SO warm. We were here! I looked around at all the other people in the room. Most were couples, but there were 2 single women. So many of us wanting to become parents. So many wanting a baby. On the wall were photo collages of happy families. All kinds of families. It was one of the things that had attracted me to this agency rather than the others, when I had attended the RESOLVE conference back in September. The openness. And the hope. It was a good thing as the energy wafting off all of us was desperate for hope, reassurance and possibility. Suddenly the nervous chatter died away as the facilitator walked into the room and over to the white board. And she wrote:

Myths About Open Adoption

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 4 - ramblings on a winter's eve

January 5, 2002

It has been more than six months, yet we don't have any concrete answers. I have imagined myself living child-free. But, it is like a shoe that doesn't fit. It rubs and chafes and gives me blisters.

Today is the first afternoon in a very long time that I've enjoyed. I'm pretty relaxed considering the ping ball machine I call my emotions over the last year. Now I sit outside on the patio, inhaling the scent of the freshly mown grass - the last few minutes of daylight lingering here. I wish it could last longer - yet nothing lasts. Except the yearning for a child. When I am in the throes of this - when I am not incapacitated by a migraine, when I actually can think in a clear, concise way - I can imagine that this too shall pass, or shift or change. I am tired - look in the mirror and shrink from my reflection in the glass. Could this be me? Fine lines caress my face and the silver in my hair ravages across my scalp.

So, I sit here and try to cling to the surety that I have a place in this chaotic world in which to take up space. That I can sip my glass of red wine - Beringer, Vintners Reserve? 1999 - No, Founders Reserve - whatever the hell that means. Our dogs, sit here with me. All of us savoring the last dregs of daylight - before the onslaught of darkness and cold. It is winter, yet a heat wave has descended over the last few days. Life feels calm in this moment, except for occasional background sounds - a cacophony, love that word - of barks from the dogs next door.

I need to start exploring who I am now. Not who I could have been or who I could be if only this were to happen... but, who. I. am. now. ... And so my thoughts ramble on .... I get dizzy with my own yearnings and dreams. What is it that I want? Truly I want to quit my job - to be able to make a home and write and paint... and be a mother. Somehow. Part of me is very frightened at the thought of my becoming a mother. Will I be able to handle it? Will I do it well? Do I really know what I am getting into? I am sure not. Does anyone know what they are getting into? This is life - a journey, full of twists and turns and shocking surprises - some good, some bad.

People who always want more are never the happy ones. They're always looking ahead - for something better to come along. The truly happy people, satisfied people, blessed people are the ones who look around and love what they have. They laugh a lot, without holding back. They dance - they rejoice in the moment. The moment is now. Grab life with both hands! Hold on honey, the ride is gonna be bumpy. The moment is here if you see it. But, you have to see it and you have to act upon it. Facile words, yet I continue to muddle through.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 3 - Which way do we go?

July 8, 2001
It's been a month and I feel a little less battered. It seems that there are happy pregnant women everywhere and some of them are my friends. I hate the fact that I can't be 100% joyful for them. It's not that I don't feel happy for them, but each encounter, each baby shower seems to break my heart into yet another piece. And who can I talk about it with? Would that be fair to dampen their joy? To turn it around to be about me? No, it would not.

It's not that people don't care. They just have no idea what to say. My step-mother told me that I could create a life with children in other ways, that she had not had a child, but had found satisfaction in working with children. But, that is not MY path!!! - I wanted to scream. Her comment made me angry and it felt insensitive. But, that is what she knows and I think she was trying, in her way, to help me.

So, I feel very alone with it all. It is complicated. It is unbelievable that my heart can still keep breaking, but it can. And it is so hard not to wallow in a self-pity party. I feel isolated right now, as I don't know anyone else going through this. The wonderful women I met on Babycenter 2 years ago, our "Club Meds Group," all 12 of them are now pregnant or have become mothers. Except for one other woman and myself. 10/12 succeeded. They've been amazing, yet they don't know what to say.

I never though that I would go as far as IVF. You start out with a small pill called Clomid, that turns you into a lunatic and before you know it your husband is jabbing you in the ass with needles. You find yourself taking bigger and bigger steps until suddenly you are there. And then when it all falls apart, when all of the shots, and the monitoring, and the driving an hour each way to the clinic, and the praying doesn't end up with a pregnancy - you wonder how you ever got here. We told ourselves that it was worth spending all the money - just to have a precious baby in our arms. Now we have the debt, yet the debt in our hearts is much greater. Was it worth it?

As I come up for air, I am feeling just the slightest tickle of hope. It feels good not to be going through treatment. It feels good to make love just for that reason, although we gave up on getting pregnant on our own long ago. I am beginning to feel human again. Sad, but human. And with the little bit of hope is the feeling that I will find some peace with all of this.

E and I have agreed to take an official break for six months on discussing where we go from here. We are giving ourselves time to feel things out. Do we pursue adoption? Do we remain child-free, but make peace with that and have a fabulous life together without children? Time will give us the answer. But, since I am a woman and he is a man...our reference for time is quite different. So, while he continues to put the mourning behind him and live life now, I am going to start gathering information on adoption and read a book that was recommended to me on choosing to be child-free after infertility. I'm not sure which path we'll choose, but hopefully that will show itself to us. Meanwhile, I'm trying to just take it one day at a time.

To be continued....

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Friday, November 2, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 2 - the end of the IVF road

June 2, 2001

I'm so sorry, said Dr. B. So very sorry. Small words carrying heavy weight. We can try again, when you are ready, he said. Ready? If that was all it took, I would have been pregnant months and months ago. After I hung up the phone I sat still, unable to move. Then I got up and looked in the extra bedroom. The extra bedroom, perfect for a nursery, in the house we had bought to have a family in. It stood empty, mocking me. As if an automaton, I picked up the phone and called E. And sobbed. No baby once again. After 5 IUIs, 3 fresh cycle IVFs and 2 frozen, it was over. Although I had told E that I wasn't sure I could stop, now I knew that I could. That I had to find some peace. That I couldn't continue to put myself through a procedure that in the end, made me feel like a guinea pig and as far from being a mother as I could possibly feel. Time to regroup. Time to just stop thinking and breathing and living wanting to get pregnant. Like every single one of our precious, fragile embryos I was fragmented, cracked, and my hope had withered. Gone.

We both needed time to heal. I knew that E was in pain and I couldn't comfort him. There was nothing in me left. It was time to start living again. To rejoice in what we had. Yet, all I could focus on was what we didn't have.

To be continued...

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 1 - excerpts from an infertility journal

Today is the 1st day of NaBloPoMo. The challenge is to post every day for the month of November. I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I will do. Should I just do the same 'ol, same 'ol or should I attempt something a little different? I'm often asked how is it that we have children so close in age. I would like to tell the story of how we became a family. I hope you'll stay along for the ride. So, this is the story of how we ended up with a BOY & a GIRL 10 months apart.

Excerpts from an infertility journal

May 19, 2001
My darling, dearest 9 embryos. You are each so precious. I love you all. Please be little fighters. E and I welcome you with open arms. Fight embryos - fight to survive. Are you the precious little soul that has been wandering around looking for your parents? We welcome you. I am ready to put you in my womb. It is up to each of you to divide and progress as best you can. God, please help our little guys. Divide, divide, divide... Your little souls need not wander any longer. I welcome you to my side. 9 little embryos. My dear sweet little miracles. I treasure you. I am imagining you dividing beautifully. I imagine you 2 celled, then 4 celled, then 6, then 8, 10 and 12. I imagine you in your round perfect circles of cells. Each cell meeting each other. Each embryo growing into a precious one. I can imagine you, baby from my embryos. I snuggle you. I smell your baby smell. No obstructions, nothing to prevent you from growing into your glorious selves. 12 celled blastocysts circling in my womb - finding that special place. This is a new beginning. A time for change.

May 20, 2001
We have 6 fighters now. 6 sweet little embies. I imagine your fighting spirits, your little souls wanting to come into my uterus. Your father and I welcome you. Don't let the little fragmentation deter you - continue to divide. You six are meant to be inside of me. When Mitch called with the good news of all of you - I dropped to my knees and sobbed and thanked God for each and every one of you. I know that you are here because of our prayers - the prayers of all of our family and dear, dear friends. This is the time. It is meant to be. I imagine becoming a mother. I imagine you growing inside of me. Each of you is so cherished. Let the fragmentation stay on the outside. Let it not increase. I pray for each of you to be golden and beautiful. And your daddy and I want you so, so much. More than anything in this world. I long to be your mother. To be pregnant with you. My lining is ripe for your implantation. I imagine you nesting there.

May 21, 2001
Today is transfer day. Go embies! Go my little team! It only takes one. One special embryo. I am ready to become a mother. Are you ready to come into my life? Things went very well today. 5 of you raced in and 1 rebel decided to give it a second shot. So now I am honored to have six of you in my tummy. I will lie here and honor you and make myself a cozy haven for you. How I long to meet you. Dig in little guys. Dig in. I imagine your wonder. I will become pregnant this time. I am ready to receive this blessing.

May 23, 2001
I feel you all in my tummy. I love walking around knowing you are inside of me. I love you all so very, very much. Your dad does, too. We have wanted you so very long. Years and years and ... years. Today I can move around and do small things. I don't have to stay lying down. I feel you there making a difference this time. Right now I am pregnant. I am pregnant. I want to feel your little flutters. I want to see your little sac on the ultrasound screen. I want to see and hear your heartbeat.

May 24, 2001
Dear God. I am feeling so scared today. Somehow the reality of returning to work has me all in a tizzy - worrying about the outcome of this invitro. I don't want this to be an IVF attempt anymore! No, I want this to be it! To be an IVF success story. I am so very frightened. We have told virtually everyone this time - all family, friends. And this is not a bad thing. We need everyone's prayers. I need to focus on today, this morning. Take big breaths and feel the prayer circle around us. It is very strong and loving. I deserve to be a mommy. Is this what it is about - the doubts? Somehow I think that a miracle can't happen to me - to us. It can. It will. I am pregnant. I am pregnant. I am pregnant. Please God, show me the way to motherhood. I have never, ever wanted something so much - so precious.

May 28, 2001
I have been avoiding you these past two days. Feeling angry, already. Betrayed. I don't feel pregnant. I went and looked back from our old records from the 1st IVF. We transferred 7 embryos. 6 were 4 celled and 1 was 8 celled. All heavily fragmented. Last fall, our 2nd attempt, we transferred 6. Our fragmentation is less this time. 5-10% fragmentation. Today I said to E that I didn't know if I could stop IVF - if it doesn't work this time. If we are not pregnant, will I be able to say O.K., time to move on? I don't know. How do you stop when you want something more than your heart and soul? How do you decide that this is the last time? Then what? Adoption?

May 31, 2001
This waiting is killing me! It is so very hard! There are hours when I feel like YES, this is it. This is different and I am pregnant. I've had really strong cramping that actually hurts, very low - just above my pubic bone. Also my breasts are more tender than I remember. The progesterone - blast it- can cause these pregnancy-like symptoms. It just sucks. I am wearing an additional estrogen patch - so that could be causing me to have symptoms. See! I question and double-question everything. No wonder I feel completely whacked out.

June 1, 2001
Dear God. I'm counting on you! How is that for blatant begging, praying, down on my knees - anything that would help you to know, but you do know how much I want this baby - our baby. Please God. Let these things that I've been feeling be true. Tomorrow morning is the test date. By tomorrow afternoon I will know. E is working tomorrow, so I will be here waiting by myself. I have mixed feelings about that. Of course, I would love for him to be here - waiting with me. But, as of right now I feel O.K. to wait for the call by myself - although I am also petrified. It feels so good to have some hope. I never felt this hopeful. It is possible that I could be pregnant right now.

To be continued...

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