Monday, January 30, 2006

Thoughts on Infertility and Adoption

I guess I'm a tad unusual amongst the infertile throngs...adoption was always in the cards for us. We researched domestic vs. international adoption right along with the latest advances in infertility research. We considered not putting my body through the rigors of IVF, but I had that nagging voice at the back of my skull saying "but what if it works?!" I really did want to experience pregnancy, labor, breast feeding...the works.

It's such a crushing blow when the body doesn't DO what it's supposedly DESIGNED to do. It's like a cosmic joke on me. Here I was...adopted myself...and now I was looking into adopting. Being adopted, I guess it made the decision to adopt that much easier. (Hey, it worked out pretty darn well for MY parents, right?)

But I did go through that grieving process...the loss of that dream child...the one that looks like me and my husband with all our genetic pluses and minuses. Add to that the dreams of my mother. She wanted to experience pregnancy through me; come along for the ride. My body let her down too.

At my lowest point, before the infertility treatment and adoption research began, my husband's aunt (also a mom through the miracle of adoption) said to me:

"Do you want a pregnancy? Or a baby?"

It was like a lightbulb turning on over my head. Duh! I wanted to be a mother and raise a child! Of course I didn't have to be pregnant to achieve that goal!

And so I am - a mother. In the end, it doesn't really matter how I got here.

So what got me all contemplative tonight? I found a new blog I like. :-)

Totally off the topic... I did get the results of my CT scan. It's not good. It looks like Endo is out to kick my ass again. The biggest thing visible is a FOOTBALL sized fluid filled mass in my abdomen. In other words, more freakin cysts and more freakin surgery. I'm not critical, yet. I'm trying to find the right kind of surgeon but I want to put off the surgery as long as I can. I need to lose some serious weight if I want any hope of recovering in a normal length of time. I also need to pick the right surgeon(s). My gastro doc won't do it (it's outside his area of expertise) but he did say he didn't see any reason why a reproductive cancer specialist can't take care of this mess AND do my hysterectomy too. What a great thing that would be...go under the knife once and do it ALL.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"You may feel a sensation like you've wet yourself..."

Had my abdominal and pelvic CT today. I was so nervous I thought I would throw up. I hate drinking Barium. I think it's mostly in my head. Just knowing what I am drinking makes me gag. But this time it was "berry smoothie" flavor. That smelled and tasted better than the last time (I don't recommend the orange flavor), but I still gagged with every swallow. I drank a full bottle at bed time last night and half a bottle this morning an hour before my test. I was told to bring the other half bottle with me but they never had me finish it. I was SO HAPPY about that!

Last time the CT was for my liver. This time the test was being done "with contrast". No one warned me that meant I had to get an IV. I told the tech that I have no veins. They always get cocky with me and have to see for themselves. She cut off the blood flow in both arms, smacked me around a little, and finally gave up and ran for the doctor. Naturally, he was cocky too. He even stuck me a couple times saying "I was sure I had a vein there..." Sorry dude, but I warned ya. Eventually they went with Lucky. That's the vein in my hand that gets poked for everything; particularly blood work. Lucky hasn't let me down yet (and I told them that right from the start...they never listen to me).

That contrast stuff they injected was weird. The tech gave me a laundry list of potential side-effects and sensations including burning feeling at the injection site, throat, and/or chest, nausea, dizziness, a metallic taste in the mouth, and the sensation that you've wet yourself. Which ones did I get? Just dizziness and the sensation of wetting myself. Oh joy! It wasn't that bad, but signing those forms ahead of time stating you know this stuff could cause kidney failure, stop you from breathing or kill you...uh, yeah. That always scares the shit out of me.

I was so relieved when they pulled out the IV and told me I was done. 30 minutes on my back on a metal slab and I was in agony! My poor back. My spine curves inwardly. I don't do hard surfaces well.

So now I'm home. I'm dizzy, still a little nauseous but starting to recover from the anxiety attack I had in the car on the way home. I probably shouldn't have driven to the test alone. Live and learn.

OK. To change the subject and get my mind off all this medical crap, I thought I would share something funny. My husband was propositioned the other night by a woman he was chatting with on the internet. She offered to have his baby.

Let me explain. John has a medical condition called Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP - it's a heart thing) and he is pretty actively involved in several support communities for folks with this defect and the associated "syndrome" symptoms. He's a really friendly and helpful guy full of useful information and the chicks in his forum like and appreciate all the help he has given them over the last year or so. I guess he's shared a lot of things with these people, including our battle with infertility. One lady was so moved by our story she offered to carry a child for us. Isn't that sweet?! It's not the first time kind women have made that offer. But it's typically been friends of MINE who offered.

Honestly tho, I'd be more inclined to accept the offer from my young, healthy, 20-something friends than a woman my age who has a heart condition. LOL But I do appreciate it when people offer to help. ;-)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Weekend Assignment #95: The Best Money You Ever Spent

This week's weekend assignment is pretty easy. The best money we've ever spent was the adoption fees, attorney retainer and court costs associated with this little guy right here! But I have to add a caveat to this. Adoptive parents become particularly sensitive to certain adoption related language and the sadly prevailing impression in our society that adoption is the same as "baby selling".

The media is largely to blame. They tend to focus on black market schemes, corrupt attorneys, unscrupulous birth parents, corruption in foreign governments and so on. These cases are the EXCEPTION. The majority of adoptions are legal and the costs associated with them are all earmarked for specific things and itemized for the courts. When you look at all the costs as a lump sum, sure many people's reactions are "Whoa, that kid was expensive!" That is NOT the case.

When you break down the costs...$X for your lawyer, $X for the birth mother's lawyer, $X for medical expenses, $X for court costs, $X for travel expenses, $X for the home study and fee for the social worker who conducts it, $X for the local agency, $X for an in-state lawyer if you adopt from out of state, a small $X in living expenses for the birth mother (this amount is carefully monitored by the courts so no abuses can take place), $X in fees for finger printing and background checks...and so on. Each cost, taken individually, is completely reasonable. And not a single one of those fees is $X to buy my baby.

So what is the point I am trying to make? If you know someone who has adopted a child, never EVER ask them "So how much did he/she cost?" or "Was he/she expensive?" It's not the BABY that costs, it's the PROCESS. And the process is worth every penny.

Other inappropriate things to say or ask an adoptive parent:

"Do you know who his/her REAL mother is?" - This implies that we are fake parents. I assure you, we are the REAL deal. I've got the worry lines, gray hair and under-eye circles to prove it.

"Couldn't you have a child of your own?" - This implies that adoption is somehow less valid than having a biologically related child. Having the same blood doesn't make a child more or less a part of the family. He is MY OWN CHILD whether he popped out of my uterus or not.

"That is his/her ADOPTED child. So and so has 2 ADOPTED children." - This label tends to follow kids, especially children of famous people, all their lives! Why does the media find it necessary to constantly segregate children that were adopted from children that may have been born into a family? I sure as hell don't want my obituary to one day read "...and she is survived by one adopted son, Tyler." He is just my son. Period. Adoption is just as valid a way of joining a family as birth.

"Why was he/she given up?" - Asking a new parent why her child was given up or abandoned, especially in FRONT of the child, is wildly inappropriate. The birth or biological parent made an adoption plan...a plan to secure our child's future. My child was not unwanted. His biological mother loved him enough to make sure he would grow up in a safe and nurturing environment with two loving parents and opportunities for a bright and promising future. He is NOT unwanted or a mistake.

"What a wonderful person you are for making a home for this child!" - Um...yeah. Sorry folks. I am NO saint! Statements like this imply we are taking on someone else's problem or that adoption is a burden that will somehow earn us brownie points in heaven. Or something. We adopted because we wanted to be parents and have a child to love. The same as any other person who tries to have a child. I'm just a mom. Being loving and selfless is just part of the job description.

Would you like to play along? The current Weekend Assignment can be found here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Round Robin: Super Model

I had a totally brilliant idea in mind when I came up with this week's Round Robin photo challenge topic. The only problem is...the challenge was originally supposed to happen back in early December (I think), I didn't write down that brilliant idea, and I plum forgot what the heck I was planning to do. So I started from scratch.

Lucky for me I have a brilliant model with real star quality who happens to live with me. ;-) To this Mommy's extreme glee and delight, Tyler agreed to model the way cool Doctor's lab coat he got for Christmas. But I had to strike a bargain with him. He wouldn't have his picture taken unless *I* agreed to model my new Halloween themed night shirt (that I recently got on sale) so he could take MY picture too.

*ahem* NO I will NOT be posting the photos that Tyler took. He did a fab job, but I am no longer super model material. LOL

How serious he looks! He is preparing to give me a shot.

Dr. Tyler in his "ready for action" pose.

Ah my beautiful boy. He could be on the cover of American Baby or Parenting or star in an ad for the Sensational Beginnings catalog. ;-)

Check out the other Robins' work:

Karen...Outpost Mavarin Posted
Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly Posted
Through My Eyes
Kimberleigh...I Shaved My Legs For This?
Betty...My Day, My Interests PhotoBlog Posted
First Digital Photos
Gem...Journally Yours
Nancy...Nancy Luvs Pix
T.J. ...Photo Inclusions: Every Picture Tells A Story
Julie...Julie's Web Journal
Steven...(sometimes) photoblog

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Doctors, doctors...everywhere!

In the spirit of starting the new year off right, I went to see my primary care doc a week ago for my annual checkup. As usual, I had a laundry list of concerns. The only difference? This time I actually SHARED them with the doctor. Normally, I decide at the last moment that the stuff I worry about is too stupid or ridiculous to mention.

Turns out a couple of the things I mentioned he was genuinely concerned about. He send me to a specialist on Friday and I have to also make an appointment for a sleep study to see if I have apnea. I guess my blood test results (I turned up anemic) and my other complaints were enough to worry the new specialist too. My new gastro-enterologist took a detailed history and was really horrified when I shared what I've been through with my endometriosis (and the subsequent surgeries). Then he examined me. My belly is hard as a rock. And not because I have those 6-pack abs from working out.

Nope. Looks like I am headed for a blockage and all the scar tissue and adhesions from the endo are to blame. If things stop moving all together? Well...I don't even want to think about that right now. The gastro doc has already told me I need surgery. "How soon" is the question I need answered now. I'll be scheduled for an abdominal and pelvic CT next week so the doc can get a better picture of what is going on in there.

The good news is the doc agreed to coordinate with another surgeon so when they do open me up, I can have my hysterectomy done at the same time. The fewer times I get put under the better. I don't like being intubated plus anesthesia and I don't respond well to each other. I really like the idea of getting all cleaned out in one fell swoop.

Maybe once this is all done and I've recovered, I'll be pain free for the first time in 20 years. I can dream, can't I?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Watch me work it...

I don't usually do these kinds of "quizes" because I think most of them are silly. But this one made me laugh! And how accurate...based on my taste in music. Ha!

Your Stipper Song Is

Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard

"Love is like a bomb, baby, c'mon get it on
Livin' like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man?"

Break out the baby oil, you rock it old school.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

In the immortal words of Socrates...

... "I drank what?"

Yeah. I drank it. Other than being a tad foamier than the newer bottle, it tasted the same. No sickness. Heh. I guess you could call me a risk taker. I love living dangerously. Heh.

On to the next topic. My sweet little four year old came into my office the other day and said with a grin, "Hey Mommy! Special delivery!!!" and proceeded to deliver a loud, obnoxious smelling fart in my general vicinity. Who in HECK taught him that little gem? Not I!


Time is passing more and more quickly. I can't recall now how long it's been since we officially went active with our portfolio at the adoption agency. I'm thinking it's been at least 8 months or more. The plan in my head had always been to have my children be closer together in age than my brother and I were (I attribute the 5 year age difference as cause for much of our difficulties with each other). Now it's looking like whether we go to China or wait for a call on the domestic side, this will be the age difference between Tyler and his sibling.

To make matters worse, Tyler has lately been announcing that he no longer wants a baby sister or brother. I can't really blame him. I think he's starting to realize what a cushy deal he has going. He never has to share his toys. He never has to share his parents. He's a smart kid. Too smart.

I am still working through my doubts and fears. The fact that I am considering leaving things as is and letting Tyler remain an only child scares me almost as much as the thought of having another baby in the house.

Meanwhile our forms for the China agency are still sitting here on my desk. I am still trying to recover from all the family drama and I can't bring myself to start the dossier process with the new agency. I'm still in a funk. I've been funked into immobility.

Tyler has yet another winter cold. Let's see if I can talk him into taking a nap (snicker!)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Where is the @%*#! expiration date?!

Does anyone know how long an unopened bottle of Welch's Sparkling Red Grape Juice Cocktail will keep? You know...that festive drink we wusses purchase because we have a spouse who doesn't consume alcohol and we're afraid to try and consume an entire bottle of champagne on our own? It's been in the back of my fridge for a long long long time. Let's put it this way...I think it's from 1998 and there is no website listed for Welch's anywhere on the label. Versus the pretty new two-pack of Welch's that Santa brought me...the label says copyright 2005 and there IS, clear as day, printed on there. Hmm.

The logo remains the same, but I do like the pretty new Currier & Ives'esqe design better. Should I drink it? Maybe it has fermented into real champagne by now.

If I post anything weird later today...blame the Welch's.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Closet Geekiness

I have a secret dream. I want to attend the Consumer Electronics Show! I swear, it's like geek nirvana. That is the gig where all the cool gadget manufacturers announce their new devices.

For months now, John was asking me what I really wanted for Christmas. What did I want? I wanted a portable satellite radio device that would also play my MP3 collection. You know what? That kind of device just didn't exist. Until NOW! Someone took my dream device and made it a reality. I knew it was only a matter of time.

So add that to my wish list along with the cute little credit card sized digital camera I am also coveting.

Coming to a town near you...

Any of my bloggy friends live near Greenbelt, MD? How about Sacramento, CA? Houston, TX? Let me know. :-)

Monday, January 02, 2006

What Dreams May Come?

Sometimes I actually love my brain. Well, my subconscious mind anyway. When John came to wake me today, I was in the middle of a really weird but fun dream. It's probably a good thing John woke me when he did. If I had been allowed to wake on my own I probably wouldn't remember the dream, but I sure wish I knew what happened next!

I totally reserve all book and movie rights to this idea, by the way. LOL!

In my dream I was a psychiatrist. Actually the lead shrink working for a large pharmaceutical company. It was my job to screen candidates for various drug trials and to monitor their progress along with the medical doctors running the trials.

In this instance, the company was testing a new class of anti-depressant that was targeted to people with sleep disorders, specifically. All sounds pretty normal, right? Well, the test group takes an interesting turn. Out of a group of 350 test subjects, 5 end up with VERY unusual side effects from the drug. This new drug alters their brain chemistry SO completely it actually awakens some unused part of the brain and gives these five people super powers.

Since they all think they are going crazy, I am the only person they confide in. One woman's new mental powers enable her to levitate herself and other objects/people. One fellow can read minds. Another can affect people's perceptions and, in effect, he can become invisible. I convince them to keep their new gifts a secret for the moment and I form a group therapy group so they can all talk to each other about their feelings and the potential ramifications of these powers. Mind reader guy assures me that everyone in the group is a "good" person.

Somewhere along the way, they look to me for guidance on what to do with the rest of their lives because it doesn't look like their powers are going away. Even after they taper off and discontinue the use of the new drug. The entire group agrees with me that this particular side effect must be kept secret and that this drug must NEVER go to market. What if someone really evil takes it and ends up with a really dangerous mental power? I am able to convince the drug company (with the help of the woman who has the power to give people a mental "push" and make them see things her way) to stop research on this formulation because it has dangerous side effects.

There were so many funny parts to this dream. These formerly depressed and sleep deprived people are now feeling better than they have in years. They have a new found zest for life (and some have a wicked sense of humor). In group therapy we all laugh about pranks they have pulled on family members and the public at large. But all finally realize that these gifts could have world changing benefits if everyone in "group" decides to use their powers for the good of mankind.

But how do you go about becoming a superhero when you are a housewife? Or nerdy single guy who was clueless about women (but now can read their inner most desires)? How did the heroes in the comic books do it?

As a group, they decide it all starts with a GROUP. From there it was a matter of maintaining their secret identities and designing some sort of costume/disguise for every group member. This part of the dream was totally hilarious. One woman moaned that spandex would make her thighs look too fat. One of the men was dead set against using the color brown in his costume because that color was "unlucky" for him. I had found a non-English-speaking seamstress to help us dye fabric and stitch together various test models of costumes for the members. Apparently, in my dream, I could speak fluent Cantonese. (Our seamstress thought we were putting on a play.)

I was helping the female levitator test out a cool new blue and white striped costume design when it began to rain. While the blue dye bled into the white, the white strips simultaneously became transparent when wet. The woman was trying to concentrate to keep herself aloft while trying to hide the parts of her body that were suddenly exposed through the sheer wet fabric. It was at this point that John woke me up.

I wish I knew if this new group of would be heroes ever got their act together and managed to make a difference in the world.

I'd like to think they did...since I am a deeply optimistic person at heart.