Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Post Full of Scary Words

I'll warn you up front that this post will be full of really scary words!

Scary words like...

* Infertility
* Endometriosis
* Bowels
* Acupuncture

Told you. Are you ok?

(I'm pulling out all the stops for this one so if you're not ok with topics that may seem TMI, move on....)


When Joey and I started trying to get pregnant 58 months ago (bc people who live in the infertility world keep track of time just like Mommies do when their babies are little.... except our 'months' really never turn into years), I've got to be honest... we kinda saw the dreaded "I" word coming.

 My mom and dad had trouble getting pregnant with me (I was a '1 month-off' miracle baby :-)) and then couldn't get pregnant again (THANK THE LORD!! This is why mom and dad adopted and why I have the 2 most amazing brothers a girl could ask for!). Mom's infertility issues were basically hormonal but as we all know, those stinkin hormones are stubborn and it can take years to find just the right (and always pretty simple) way of tweaking them so they all line up. Well, after years of trying, those stubborn hormones lined up and wah-la... here I am :-)

I always knew there was a chance I could have trouble getting pregnant just like my mom but in the end, my infertility issues are nothing like my mom's.

Go figure.

We saw our first RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) about 11 months into our first year of trying. We did the blood work (2 times a week for 4 weeks, at first), HSG (Hysterosalpingogram... 100% as scary as it sounds!), ultrasounds, sperm samples, cycle charting, temp-taking, and baby-dance timing. We did IUI... too many times to count. In July '08 we finally got our dreaded diagnosis.......

'Nothing' was wrong with us.


(FYI; in the world of infertility... this is NOT always a good thing!!!)

I wanted to take a pill, get a shot, and have something that could be fixed! What in the world is 'nothing'??

I love when I can look back at my life and remember times when I just KNOW that God was laughing at me! If it's true that you burn calories when you laugh, God must be pretty darn skinny.... I don't know about you but he laughs at me A LOT!

Wanna know why he was laughing?

Because 9 weeks later we brought home our baby-girl....

I know I've said this before but I'm so thankful that we didn't get pregnant.... I thank God every single day! There's really no way we could have created this perfect baby-girl... she needed different DNA...  and our love.

So, even though I know why we didn't/haven't gotten pregnant ( we needed to bring our sweet girl home), it still leave us wondering what the heck is going on.... medically, I mean. Because we all know that there is a medical reason for infertility and God reason.

SO, Hannah was 4 months old and I started noticing how uncomfortable I was. My discomfort was mainly centered around my cycles but sometimes not... weird. I went back to my RE and described feeling 'full' and 'bloated' and 'crampy' more often than I remembered. Sometimes I had bowel issues, sometimes I didn't. My cycles were getting longer, my patience was getting shorter. Sometimes I would spend 2 days a month on the couch in pain, sometimes I would take some Midol and be ok.

We scheduled a Laporoscopy (yep, as scary as it sounds) to find the source of my discomfort.... an added bonus was that we might find some answers to the infertility piece, too even though we had our precious baby-girl. 

 Wanna know something? I asked our entire family and friends and small group to pray for my surgery.... but I didn't ask them to pray that they'd find nothing wrong. I asked them to pray that something would BE wrong! I wanted a diagnosis... BAD! Now we weren't messing with just not getting pregnant... mama was in pain (and we all know how that goes...)

We did the Laporoscopy and FINALLY had some answers...

I had Endometriosis!

YES!!! WOOHOO!!! HURRAY!!! Now gimme a shot, lemme take a pill, and let's DO THIS!

I went in for my post-op and as my doctor explained to us a little more about Endo, he also made something very very clear...

"Your Endometriosis is the source of your discomfort and I cleaned out as much as I could ... but ... there's always a 'but'... it's not bad enough that it's keeping you from getting pregnant. I still don't feel like I know why that is... medically."

(I loved having an RE who was a Christian. He really 'got it'... and knew how much of a miracle our baby was :-))

For those of you who aren't familiar with Endometriosis.... it's a condition in which the tissue that behaves like the cells lining the uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas of the body, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and possible infertility. The tissue growth (implant) typically occurs in the pelvic area, outside of the uterus, on the ovaries, bowel, rectum, bladder, and the delicate lining of the pelvis. However, the implants can occur in other areas of the body, too (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001913/)

Thanks, Doc. Now what?!

So, we went home. We enjoyed our baby-girl, and felt even MORE confirmed in God's plan to build our family through adoption. THIS plan is perfect for our family!  

BUT.... there's always a 'but'.... what about the Endo?  It's still there.

Here I am, 3 years later and my Endo sweetly reminds me almost every single day that it's still there.
Endo is 'fed' by Estrogen. And Estrogen is released by your body every month during your period. This means that every month, my Endo is growing and it will continue to until it all gets 'flushed out' by pregnancy and delivery (which we're not aiming for and at this point would take medical intervention and we're done with that), enter Menopause, or have a Hysterectomy (which I believe could be in my future).

This isn't quite the 'thing' I imagined growing inside me one day ;-)

Here's my most recent dilemma....

We aren't trying to get pregnant and have been told that from a medical perspective, IVF is our best shot at achieving pregnancy. We're not opposed to IVF for other people but know it's not the right choice for us... having that biological connection to our children has never been of utmost importance to us; tho at the same time, I completely understand why it is to many other people.  Our family is growing through adoption and nothing will change that or the excitement we feel by being completely enveloped in God's plan for our family!

BUT... there's always a 'but'... what do I do about this Endo? I know it's not going to get better and at the same time, I don't want to go through another surgery, more meds, more doctors, etc.

 I've been researching Acupuncture... and I really like what I read! I went to my first appointment last week and left feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated and to be honest, I haven't felt so bloated this week!

Now, I've been completely (and disgustingly :-)) honest with you so please help me out! I'm being followed by my doctor, of course, and she and I have regular talks about managing my symptoms but I still always feel that opening a forum for these discussions with other women can help so so much...

Here's what I'd like to know...

Have you tried Acupuncture? What for? What kind of results, if any, have you noticed?

Do you have Endometriosis? Or maybe you have cysts or fibroids or something similar? What are your symptoms? What have you done to try and manage those symptoms? What's your future plan to manage them, if you have one?

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Blame It ALL On Adam & Eve....

Our baby-girl has Pneumonia. In the middle of Summer. For the second time... that we know of (I'm FULLY convinced that she's had it many times and it went undiagnosed and ended up disguised by antibiotics...).

She had a cough on Tuesday. That's it; A dry cough. No runny nose, no wheezing, no fever. Just a cough.

She took a nap on Wednesday and woke up covered in throw up (sorry :-( ), and with a RAGING 105.1 temp.

One. Oh. Five. Point. One.

Do you know what that looks like on a thermometer? It's AWFUL! Absolutely awful :-(

We put her in a cool bath and watched her for a while. When it was clear that her temp wasn't budging, we went to Urgent Care. Thankfully, the one closest to us is open until 8pm... we got there at 7:45. They took her back immediately, hooked her up to oxygen monitors, pricked her finger to get a while blood count, and off we went for a chest x-ray.... she's a trooper! SUCH a big girl! We didn't leave Urgent Care until 10:15pm... did I mention that they closed at 8pm? That's right... every single staff member stayed THAT late just for us. They were amazing! They even brought stickers to help us pass the time....

(Daddy loved the stickers ;-))

Hannah had coin-size spots of Pneumonia in both of her lungs... and it wasn't even noticeable when the Doctor listened to her chest. You have no idea how much that scares me! We are SO thankful for a smart doctor who wasn't willing to risk anything with Hannah's health and went ahead with an x-ray even though she didn't hear anything.... so so thankful!

Baby-girl got a (PAINFUL!) shot of Rocephin and went home with antibiotics, new nebulizer solution (yep, we're already proud owners of a nebulizer), a princess bandaid on her finger, and a red crayon bandaid on her leg. By 11pm she had an ice-pack on her leg, the nebulizer going, and Dora on TV... of course :-)

On our way up for bed, Hannah limped ahead of me and when she got to the bottom of the stairs (Daddy had already gone up), she yelled, "JOEY! JOEY!" When he came to the bottom of the stairs she said, "Hi Daddy! My weg hurts.... carry me, pwease?"

And he did :-)

Hannah has slept with us the past few nights so we can monitor her breathing and her increasingly nasty cough. The night we came home, we all piled into our bed and Bentley (our dog) had a lot of trouble settling down. He would pace around the bed, whine at Joey, and then come over and whine at me. Joey took him downstairs and let him out but when they came back upstairs he continued to whine and pace. All of a sudden he jumped up on our bed (it's about 4 feet off the ground and he's not allowed on it) and before we knew it, he was covering Hannah's face with kisses! He was SO worried about her and this is where he slept all night....

right on Hannah's legs :-)

We took Hannah in for a re-check today and she's having trouble kicking this Pneumonia. Her lungs are still crackling so we're in for a low-key, relaxing weekend and another re-check with new x-rays on Monday. Even though she feels (and sounds) yucky, a surprise Edible Arrangement from her grand-parents, a new princess crown, and lots of TLC from Mommy and Daddy (and Bentley!) have earned us a few of those smiles we love so much!

I hate when my baby is sick! As much as I hate it, I am reminded so often of how blessed we are for her overall health and of how many precious babies aren't so healthy... I'm praying for all of them (and their mommy's and daddy's) tonight!

Even so... I blame it all on Adam & Eve. Thanks a lot, guys ... I hope it was a yummy apple.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

The past few weeks have been full of humorous-Hannah... she cracks us up on a daily basis! I never, ever want to forget the funny things she says so I thought I'd start documenting those moments... especially since it looks like the baby book is never going to be finished ;-)

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes....

Me: "Hannah, what would you like for lunch today?"
Hannah: "A burger and a diet coke."

I put Hannah to bed one night. I kissed her good-night and she said, "Ni-night Mommy. Go downstairs with Daddy now."

Me: "Hannah, we have to put our shoes on so we can go to the store."
Hannah: "We NEED ice cream!!!"

Hannah: "What are you doing, Mama?"
Me: "I'm shucking corn for dinner."
Hannah: "Oh Mama! I LOVE corn!"

In the next breath:

Hannah: "I need a funfetti cupcake, Mama!"


Hannah: "Daddy, you're a super-chunk!"


Hannah: "Dee-o (Bentley, our dog), you're so CRAZY!"


Me: "Hannah, our pacifiers are all gone! You're a big girl now so we won't have a pacifier for nap-time today."
Hannah: "Let's just go to the store for a new one, Mommy!"


Me: "Hannah, when you make a mess you need to clean it up."
Hannah: "Oh, I'm sorry Mommy. You clean up please, I'll go watch Dora."


Every morning when I get Hannah from her room she says,
"Good morning, beautiful Mommy!"


She's the love of our lives... and she's growing up way.too.fast!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What TO Say; Part III

I LOVE the list we came up with on What Not To Say; Part III.... and I even have a Part IV in the works! In situations when someone asks one of these questions or makes one of these comments, my first reaction is typically always to smart-off. I think we can all agree that smarting-off isn't the best way to go. Most people making these statements or asking these questions are naive or uneducated in the world of adoption and need only to be lovingly taught how to ask the same thing or say the same thing in a non-offensive, non-hurtful way. That's where we come in!

I thought I would quickly run through our awesome list and mention some appropriate responses; I've learned the hard way that it's always good to have these responses thought-out before you're faced with the comments or questions so 'smarting-off' isn't a temptation when you're caught off-guard.

1. "How much did you pay for her?"
A better way to ask: "What fees were involved in adopting through your agency/attorney?"
A potential response: "We paid an agency/attorney/etc. some fees that covered advertising for potential birthparents, legal fees, his/her birth-moms medical fees and some living expenses so she could have a safe, stress-free, and healthy pregnancy, and those fees also made sure that she and us could receive counseling if we felt at any point that it was needed. None of that money was given directly to his/her birth-parents but it gave us the peace of mind that everyone was supported and cared for throughout the process of bringing our baby home."
2. "Don't you ever want your own children?"
A better way to ask: "Do you ever long for a biological child?"
A potential response: "I do wonder all the time what it would be like to experience a pregnancy, how I would tell my husband that we were pregnant, what it would feel like to have my baby kick and move inside me, and experience labor.  My reasons for ever desiring to experience a pregnancy have to do with the experience itself... and the fact that it is a 'simpler' process than adoption. It has a time-line, you have a diet to follow, and there's a specific plan set in place. THESE are the things that I think about.... but there has never been a difference in our minds as to whether or not a biological child would be more 'ours' than a child God chose for us through adoption."  

3. "She is so lucky to have you."
A better statement: "You are all so blessed to have each other!"
A potential response: "WE are extremely blessed to have HER!"
4. "You already have one beautiful child, isn't it a little selfish to want more kids when it's so hard to get them?"
I don't even have ideas for a better question to ask; just don't say that... to anyone!
If someone does say this to you~ A potential response; "We rely strongly on the thoughts and feelings God gives to us in the process of growing our family and we know that our family isn't done growing. The fact that we have a desire for more children takes nothing away from our thankfulness that we have Hannah... we just know that God isn't done with us yet and until He shuts every door and tells us differently, we'll continue searching for our next sweet baby/ies!"

5. "How often do you talk to her mom and dad?"
A better question: "How often do you talk to her birth-parents?"
A potential response: Be honest in describing whether your adoption relationship is closed, semi-open, or open (head over here to learn about the differences) but also mention that YOU are your child's 'mom and dad' and that the correct term for their biological parents is 'birth-parents' or simply 'biological parents'.

6. Do you think you can love him/her as much as a real parents loves their child?
~ Thanks, Misty!
Stay tuned.... this is the topic of our next post!

8. "Where is he/she from?"
~ Thanks, Amelia!
A better question: "Was this a domestic or an international adoption?"

9. "He/she's so cute.... why didn't his/her mom want her baby?"
~ Thanks, Amelia!
A better question; "What did his/her biological parents choose to place her for adoption?"
A potential response: Your response will depend on the openness of your adoption and how comfortable you are in sharing these details. It's ok to simply say "we really prefer to keep his/her story private until he/she is older." If someone wonders why his/her birthmom didn't "want" her, this is an incredible opportunity to explain what we know of a birth-moms heart; that they wanted this baby more than anything! Birth-parents possess a type of selfless love that I'm not sure many of us could ever understand; she loved her child so much that she was able to acknowledge that she just wasn't enough for him/her. Maybe she couldn't support him/her the way he/she deserved, maybe she needed time to focus on bettering herself before she could give herself fully to her child, the list goes on! The point is this; giving your child to someone else to raise and love is an act of love that some of us will never ever understand in it's entirety. And that's ok... our plans are all different. What is so incredibly special about a child who is placed for adoption is that those children are doubly loved; first by his/her 'first mom and dad' and second by their mom and dad.

10. "Does he/she look more like his/her birthmom or birthfather?"
~ Thanks, Brooke
Again, this is one of those questions that you should just not ask. Some kids looks like aunts or uncles, some have different color skin, and some just have their own 'look'. Who someone looks like just doesn't matter and can present an incredibly awkward situation for any parent.
11. "I think it's completely selfish that you didn't nurse your daughter when she was an infant."
~ Thanks, Erin!
I hope we've established that calling anyone 'selfish' is just not necessary. It IS possible for a woman to nurse a child that is not hers biologically. It involves lots of medicine, uncomfortable contraptions, and lots of time BEFORE the baby is born. 'Time' is one of those things that some adoptive parents just don't have. If you have the time, go for it! Nursing can be an awesome bonding opportunity for you and your baby... but bottle feeding your newborn can be a bonding opportunity for you, your husband, and your children. Bonding is crucial for everyone in the household when a child comes into it through adoption so do what's right for you, in your situation... you're not selfish. I promise!

PLEASE leave comments with your input, too... we all handle situations differently and my way is NOT always the best way. I'd love for you to share your own thoughts and feelings!