Monday, January 31, 2011

Priceless

Let me tell you about the MOM's Club that I found.  First of all, Jacob and I decided when he was 3 months old that it was time for us to get a "social" life.  We needed some peeps.  We signed up for this crazy stuff called Gymboree.   There, we met some other cool three month olds and their mommies.  This was a pivotal decision in my life.  For this simple endeavor would bring the start to some very meaningful friendships for both me and Jacob.  We discovered our community.  Kids have a way of drawing you into arenas you would never have entered.  Until Jacob came, Jerry and I tended to migrate back to our old neighborhood and did not know much about the community that we lived in.  All we knew was that it was a great school district and a beautiful place to raise a family. 

Right away, Jacob and I made friends and started joining playgroups and having a ball.  We heard about this Mom's Club thing and we checked it out.  Here is where we really started whooping it up.  We had a standing playgroup on Monday and Friday and Gymboree on Wednesdays. WooHoo! Our life was full. Busy, Busy, Busy.  I was in heaven.  He was growing fast.....too fast.  I wanted to slow it down.  Since Jacob could be the only baby that I would have, I was starting to feel the need to document things.  So, I decided that since I am such a fan of journaling, I would start a journal to Jacob. This journal would document his life so that when he is grown, he can read it.  Not just his favorite foods, or toys or our adventures, but letters from mommy.  I can't tell you how happy that I am that I decided to do this, because I go back and read them all the time.  It helps bring back the little memories that we forget about. You know the little goofy things they say and do.  I can tell him that his favorite show when he was 7 months old was Bear in the Big Blue house and that his favorite song to sing with mom when he was 11 months old was the Mockingbird song.  At 10, he actually loves to hear this stuff.  He probably won't admit it in mixed company, but between us.....he loves it.  I won't make a lot of recommendations through my blogging, but this is one thing that I recommend that all mom's do.  It is priceless.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Two Mommies

I wanted to share something with you that I learned over the past 10 years of raising Jacob.  I did not realize the mistake that I made until he was about 6 years old.  Jacob is a sensitive child, who is very hard on himself.  He expects perfection from himself in everything that he does.  I began telling Jacob that he was adopted from an early age.  Around the age of 3-4, I would just bring the word adoption up and use it as much as possible, so that he would learn the meaning of the word adoption.  The first time he asked me about growing in my tummy was when my sister in law was pregnant and he was understanding that a baby was in her tummy.  I told him that he had 2 mommies.  One mommy made him in her tummy and gave him his life and the other mommy (me) is teaching him how to live it and loving him through it.  I told him that both mommies are important, and that God brought us together as a team to be everything that he needed.  He liked that.  I   explained that she picked us and was very happy that we would be his parents.  My point in starting early with this process was so that he never remembers ever thinking that he wasn't adopted.  You don't want to create this huge moment that they remember forever as the time you basically turned their world upside down.  Most of us don't remember back farther than 4 or 5.  I learned all of this in the book, that I referred to yesterday, "Twenty things Adopted kids wish their Adoptive parents knew."  In the book, adoptees express that their hardest moment was when their parents sat them down and told them that what they thought to be true,  was all a "lie".  Can you imagine that.  Fortunately, I got to learn from other peoples mistakes, but as I said, I made a few of my own.  As Jacob would ask more questions, it made me feel good to share with him that, he was a "miracle" for Dad and I.  I told him, that he was an "answer to our prayers."  Whoa!! Back up the cart. This all sounded like a good idea, but what I learned was that it had become a bit of a burden for his little mind.  Too much for him to understand.  He wanted to be this perfect little everything for me.  I think that I made him feel a lot of pressure to be "my everything".  It was not fair to him.  Thankfully, when I realized the error of my ways, I was able to sit down and discuss it with him.  Kids need very little information at a time.  When they ask questions about where they came from or about their birth family, just answer the questions that they ask, nothing more.  Later in this blog, I will share with you a very special story about Jacob in the 3rd grade and how he surprised me with just how well adjusted he is about being adopted. 

I have added a contact me button for anyone that wants to tell me their story in confidence.  I love hearing them.  It is amazing the stories that I have heard from birth families, adoptees, and adoptive parents.  It takes a village.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Growing....

I wanted to share a little about myself.  I came from a family of four.  My parents have been married for 46 years, and are still like two teenagers on their first date.  They have been great roll models for me.  I had a great childhood.  The only thing that I might complain about it was that, my parents had this insane habit of moving.  They would get the "itch" to move.  They moved us 6 times before I graduated from High School.  Every time we moved, I had to start over making new friends.  I did alright, but moving to a new school in 8th grade was the hardest one.  By that time kids are pretty much set in their clicks.  Social became my primary focus.  Trying to find a place to fit in.  It would take me a while to find my bearings, but I did ok.  Jerry on the other hand, lived in one place his whole life and to this day still has the same friends from kindergarten.  I so envy that.  I think the reason that I am sharing all of this is because, I realized that a couple's different experiences in life, even as simple as this difference, can play a big role in how you approach raising children.  Let's face it.  We all want to protect our children from what we perceived to be negative experiences.  Jerry envied me for getting the opportunity to experience different communities and schools.  He saw it as a positive, because I developed excellent social skills and could walk into a room full of people that I didn't know and leave with new friends.  He on the other hand is uncomfortable in a room full of strangers.  He is slower to build friendships.  These are the things that Jerry and I would discover in that first year of raising Jacob.  So much of our focus had been about how to "have" a child to raise and we didn't even realize how clueless we were about what to do with it when we got it.  lol.  The first big hurdle was that, I wanted the house to be q-u-i-e-t when Jacob was sleeping and Jerry is, well, lets just say that he didn't get the quiet gene.  I would shoot him the evil eye for crumpling up a chip bag and he would look at me like I had 4 heads.  We were not just on this new journey raising a child, but also on this new journey of dealing with each other in this new environment.  I have to admit that I was not the easiest person to deal with back then.  No sleep.  New mommy.  Husband working all the time and quite often out of town all week.  My parents lived over an hour away from me.  Typical stuff.  There was non-typical stuff that I was dealing with as well. I kept inside.  Emotions that I didn't know what to do with.  You see, I thought that once the adoption was final...I would be home free and have no worries.  Wrongo!  I am sure all new mom's go through some of the same feelings that I did.  Such as, worried that you aren't doing things right or that you are too stressed out.  But there were some emotions that I could not quite understand swirling inside me.  I felt that, I wanted to be the best mom ever.  I was hard on myself.  I not only wanted to be the best for Jacob, but also for his birthmother.  I worried that if I didn't get "it right", that someday Jacob would wonder if he would have been better off with his birth family.  I knew that he wouldn't have, but I couldn't stop the thoughts and fears of not being enough.  It was a lot of pressure.  I started thinking about how I was going to handle the questions from Jacob as he grew and learned about his adoption and that was scary to me.  I wanted to do it all right.  The bottom line was that he is adopted and he will have to deal with all the emotions that come with it.  It is part of him and I wanted to figure out the very best way to go about it.  Thankfully, I  discovered one of my favorite books.  The Twenty things Adopted Kids wish their Adoptive Parents Knew.  This book taught me everything that I needed to know about talking to Jacob.  If you find yourself dealing with these worries, I highly recommend reading it.  It is available on Amazon.  I have the link in the right side bar if you are looking for it.  Along the way, I will use this blog to share the things that I have learned in talking with children about adoption.  Every child handles it differently. As I progress through this blogging thing, you will see that this experience of raising 4 adopted children was my destiny and I grew in ways that I could have never expected.  Not just as a mother, but as a wife....a child of God and a well rounded human being.  I hope you enjoy the ride.  I am.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Baby makes Three....Forever

After all was settled with the courts regarding parental rights.  Jacob was now legally in our custody.....but not adopted.  The process was not over.  Now, it was up to the agency to handle the court business and for us it was a waiting game.  We fell right in to the daily life as parents.  Everyday was a new experience with Jacob.  We were living in a bit of a peaceful state, compared to our previous 5 or 6 years.  Daily life with an infant is busy to say the least.  I had a ball.  We were so proud of our little boy.  His presence was healing my heart everyday.  I joined Gymboree with him.  I met some amazing women and their babies.  Some of whom, I am still very close to.  When meeting new people, I struggled with whether to be open about Jacob being adopted right away, or to keep it to myself until I felt comfortable.  I found that right away, I had to make a decision about sharing our story, because, the natural question that would arise among new mothers, was "how was your labor"?  How much weight did you gain?  What hospital did you deliver in?  That is what new mothers talked about.  I have NO CLUE about labor, so I couldn't even fake it.  In the beginning if I was not comfortable with the person asking, I would just say, "nothing out of the ordinary".  As I got closer to the women in my social group, it felt weird to NOT tell them.  Especially, when they would say, "Jacob has beautiful blue eyes, does he get that from your husband?"..It got tricky dodging the questions.  The adoption was not even final yet, so, I was scared to say too much.  I had always planned on being open with everything, but I didn't realize how complicated it would be.  As the year went by, I got better at it.  You would not believe some of the questions that I would get.  And the comments....well, let's just say, that some people are uncomfortable with topic of adoption in conversation and they don't know what to say or ask.  I feel like I could write a book on what Not to say.  LOL.   

So, when Jacob was about 8 months old, the agency called and said that everything was in order and the adoption is final, the judge sign it today.  We are just waiting for a court date.   The courts were backed up and we were going to have to wait about 2 months for a date.    This court date was just a formality, it no legal bearing on the adoption.  Jerry and I wanted this thing FINAL.  We wanted him to be OURS!!!   Legally!  So, I asked them if we had to go to court or can we just pick the papers up??? 
Two Hours later, Jerry and I were standing in the court offices with our little boy picking up the papers.  It was done!  He is our son and nothing can change it now.   We were flying high.  We hopped in the car and went and celebrated.  Just the 3 of us.

Don't go away, because the story does not end here.  It is only the beginning........

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One step closer

My post today is not from any journal entry, but from my memory.  I remember the day that we went to court for Jacob's birthmothers hearing for relinquishing her rights.  I was so full of emotion.  We really didn't have to be there, but she requested it.  She wanted to see him.  Naturally, I had mixed emotions.  On one hand, I wanted to see her as well, and make sure that she was doing ok and that she still felt confident about her decision.  Let's face it.....he is her biological child and who knows what kind of emotions she is having.  On the other hand, honestly, I wanted to dye my hair and go into hiding on the outside chance that she wanted him back.  (I wouldn't really do that).  For three weeks I had cared for and loved on this child 24/7 and bonded deeply with him.  My protective instincts were in high gear.  It was so nerve racking.  We were in the hallway at the court, waiting for her and our social worker to arrive and when I saw her walking up, I got that feeling that you get when your emotions are swirling inside.  You know that heat that rises up inside you and even your ears are hot from nerves??   Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her face looked bright and fresh.  She smiled.  She has a beautiful smile.  When her case was called, we waited outside the court room.  The judge was hard on her.  Yes, judges are hard on birthmothers.  Imagine that you are making the right decision to give your child what you can not and then going through all the pain of giving the child up and then the judge beats you over the head with it.  My heart went out to her.  Jerry and I were and always will be very protective of her.  Her sacrifice enables us our dream.  She will always have our respect.  We feel that respecting her is respecting Jacob and where he came from.  You can't take that away from him.  She will forever be his birthmother and that may mean something to him someday.  Anyways, once she exited the courtroom, we all entered a small room where we could visit.  She did not say much, but you could see that she was full of emotion.  I asked her if she would like to hold him.  She said yes.  She was very sweet with him.  As she held him she turned her back to me to answer a question from the social worker and I turned to talk to Jerry.  Then, she did the most reassuring thing....she turned back my way and said, "he's trying to see you Amy, he hears his Momma's voice".  I felt tears welling up inside of me.  I needed that moment.  She is committed to her decision.  One step closer to peace in my heart.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Showered with Love

Journal entry dated November 21, 2000 - The shower was amazing.  All of our family and friends gathered together an gave us so many wonderful gifts.  It was so touching to see how this child has brought together so much love into one room.  At the end of the shower, Jerry arrived with Jacob, to show him off a little.  I loved watching everyone gush over him.  The night was very emotional.  Several times while I was speaking to the group, I got quite choked up.  The joy that I am feeling just came flooding out out me and into the MICROPHONE that I was holding.  I did it, you know, the "ugly cry".  But, I am glad that we got the chance to publicly profess our love for Jacob.  Afterwards, when we were loading up the car and saying our goodbyes, Jerry and I had a moment together that I will never forget as long as I live.  I climbed into the back seat with Jacob and as Jerry put his seat belt on...he looked in the rear view mirror with his big baby blues and said, "Thank you, for your perseverance and all the work you put in to making this happen.  It's because of you that we are parents".  That meant the world to me.  But it wasn't the words he spoke that affected me, it was the look in his eyes.  A look of pure gratefulness. 
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Journal entry dated November 30, 2000 - On the 21st day since Jacob was born, we will be going to court.  This hearing is for our birthmother to legally relinquish her rights.  It is our understanding that if after that court date, our birthmother changes her mind at all, she would at that point need to get a lawyer to pursue her rights back.  We have our little angel, but the worry isn't over yet.  Although, our birthmother consistently told us that she has no intention of changing her mind....the fear will be there until the adoption is final.  Hopefully, it won't take long. 

Jacob loved his first Thanksgiving.   Me too.  I have never been so thankful in my life.  Praise God.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Go'in Home

Journal Entry dated November 13, 2000 - When we were leaving the hospital today to bring Jacob home with us, it all hit me.  We are going home with our little boy.  It felt strange.  Wonderful, but strange.  Kinda like when you go through the drive-thru at McDonald's, and as you drive away, you realize that they gave you an extra cheeseburger and you think, "I'd better get out of here, before someone realizes they made a mistake".  Mixed with all of this excitement is a lot of fear.  I did not realize that I would feel this so strongly.  It is like I am getting on an airplane going on vacation and I am full of excitement. Then comes that feeling when the plane is taking off and you are nervous, then you reach a point in the air where the nervousness lessens, but never really goes away.  Then the plane touches down and you are ok.  I am nervous to fall so deeply in love with this little angel, and then something goes wrong.  His little blue eyes just melt me.  Mush!  That's what I turn into, a big pile of mush. This parental protective feeling inside is pretty powerful.  I had heard people talk about it, but, WOW. Jerry is mush too!  We had no idea how amazing this would feel. He is a part of us.  He is where he belongs.  He is home. All the pain of the past few years is slipping away.  He is a miracle to us.
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Journal Entry date November14, 2000 - Today was exciting.  Our mom's are throwing us a baby shower next week, so we got to go to Baby's R Us to do a baby registry.  That was a blast.  It was so freeing for me to be able to "shop" for baby stuff without any guilt or fear.  LooK OuT, Mama's on the loose!  We did a Winnie the Pooh theme.  I love Winnie the PooH.  Some of that baby stuff, I have no idea what you use it for.   Jerry goes back to work tomorrow and it will be Jacob and I on our own.  We will miss Daddy.  My brother Mike, told me once that you can see the measure of a man in the way he cares for an infant.  He's right.  I am on this journey with a truly amazing man!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Gift of Life

I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.

For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.
--- Unknown

My last few posts have been quite draining on me.  Reliving all of these moments is awesome while and the same time, it brings up all of the old wounds.  Don't get me wrong, at this point in my life, I have healed from all the turmoil that we went through.   The healing began when this amazing little boy came into our lives.  I promised God that I would share my story, in the hope that someone could feel comforted through their own journey.  I had no one to help me in understanding the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with becoming an adoptive parent.  Our journey is just beginning.  Our story has just begun.  The day that we took Jacob home, one door closed and another door opened.  So much lie ahead of us.  We had no clue.  Our world had just shifted.  We would feel and experience things that we didn't see coming.....for now, I am gonna throw myself into motherhood and be happy. Have a great weekend.


Friday, January 21, 2011

"Goodbye Sweetheart"

The ride up the elevator felt like the longest 2 minutes of my life.  The doors opened to the maternity floor and we were immediately greeted by the nursing staff.  They were so excited to see us.  That was a surprise.  Deep down, I guess I thought that the nurses would rather see a child go home with a birthmom.  They were telling us that they had looked at the our scrapbook with our birthmother and they were very happy to meet us.  They treated us like royalty.  Wow!  I think I took a big sigh of relief in that moment.  So, they shuffled us toward our birthmothers room and our social worker said, "Jacob is in there with her and she is saying her goodbyes. She wants you to come in".  This moment, I will never forget as long as I live. She was beautiful.  She had a big, amazing smile.  The warmth of her personality jumped right out at us.  I could see that she must have been crying a bit, but over all, she looked good.  Our social worker introduced us to her and we said a very nervous "hello".  We sat down near her bed.  Of course, this is one of those moments when your brain is going a mile a minute because, nothing in your life has ever prepared you for how to act in this moment.  She pulled Jacob to her face and said "Goodbye, sweetheart!  Your Mommy and Daddy are here to meet you".  She kissed his little forehead and then looked at me.  Of course, at this point Jerry and I are both filled with emotion and crying.  What kind of tears???  All of them.  Happy...Sad...Amazed by her strength and bravery.  In that moment, I witnessed the most selfless act of love.  She told me to come to her bed and she handed him to me and said, "meet your little boy".  As I took my son into my arms, I hugged her tightly and whispered to her, "Thank you!  I promise you that we will take good care of him forever."  At that point, even though, I had just met her, I sensed that it was time for us to go and to give her time to herself.

The nurses took us to our very own room with Jacob and told us that we could be in there as long as we wanted.  They closed the door.  We were alone....with "our" baby.  I looked at my husband's eyes and thought to myself, " he is the only other human being who will ever understand what I was feeling."   A bond that we will forever share.   I looked down at this little bundle all wrapped up in my arms and for a second, I swear my heart stopped.  I could not believe how perfect this little angel was.  If you are a spiritual person like myself, you will understand that in that moment, the Holy Spirit was with me.  I felt it from my head to my toes.  We stayed in that room for several hours by ourselves.  We then invited all the very anxious new grandparents to come and meet their grandson.  It was the most amazing afternoon of our lives.  
 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

LEGACY OF AN ADOPTED CHILD

LEGACY OF AN ADOPTED CHILD
Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother

Two different lives shaped to make you one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun

The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it

One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you a talent, the other gave you aim

One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried you tears

One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.

Now, which of these two women, Are you the product of?
Both, my darling, Both, Just two different types of love.
---- Unknown



Isn't that just beautiful?  That is how I feel about it, exactly.  I fell in love with this quote.  Now, I know, that I don't have to tell you that, I did NOT get much sleep that first night after finding out about the baby.  My mind went in every direction that you can imagine.  Excitement mixed with fear and worry for the baby at the hospital.  I wondered if his birthmommy was feeding him, or would the nurses be doing that?  Does she want to see him or would she rather not?  Do I have the right to even ask these questions yet?  Will we get to meet her?  Millions of questions swirling through my mind.  I couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking about and was she excited to meet us...?...or scared..?    We don't even know if she wants an open adoption or closed.  I didn't really care, all I knew was that a little baby boy was laying in that nursery and he needed a mommy and a daddy.  Even though, I was scared to believe in all of this, I could feel God's hand on my shoulder and he was whispering "it's OK, He will be Yours." 


That morning, I packed up our little bag, so that once we got to the hospital, we could stay ALL DAY!  On our drive, I brought up the whole "name thing" again.  Jerry was open to my suggestion of discussing it.  He knew that I had always loved the name Jacob.  He threw out a few options as well, but something kept telling me that Jacob was it.  He agreed it would be Jacob. Great!  I never dreamed that this would be how we would name our child. Usually, people pine over this decision in 9 months.Anyways, we arrived at the clinic and it looked packed.  This clinic was not in the best part of town, but that's what happens when you get out the phonebook and pick one close to the hospital. We signed in an sat down....and sat....and sat....what is the matter with THESE people????  Don't they KNOW that our whole life is hinging on this STINKEN physical?????  They were in no hurry and it was making me INSANE.  Now at this point, calm level headed Jerry, knows that his lovely wife of 5 blissful years is about to BLOW a Nut.....Three hours we sat in that $%#&* clinic. Finally, we got out of there without anyone losing their head and were on our way to the hospital.  We were armed with everything we needed in order to meet our little boy.....Nothing was gonna stop us now.  We walked into the hospital, and standing there was our social worker waiting for us.  We sat down in the waiting room and signed a few papers and she checked everything over.   Everything was in order.  She says, "I know that I told you to come prepared with a name picked out, but you need to know that the birthmother decided to name him."  That's ok, I thought to myself.  She has earned it in my mind.  She told us, that it would be no problem to change the name to whatever we wanted when we went to court.  Ok.  So, we told her that we had chosen the name Jacob.  She looked at me with the biggest smile and said, "well, he is meant to be a Jacob, because that is the name that the birthmother gave him as well.  I got chills in that moment.  Another sign that we were on the right track.  Then, she said, "she does want to meet you".   Yikes!  I wasn't prepared for that.  We both took a deep breath, looked at each other and I said, "now it was time to head up and meet our little Jacob."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

SHOCK!

Journal entry dated November 11, 2000 - I am still in SHOCK.  Shaking. My stomach feels like I am in an airplane and we are experiencing turbulence.  Today is Veterans Day and since Jerry had the day off, we decided to go hang out with Jerry's parents and maybe do a little Christmas shopping.  We were sitting on the couch chatting when the phone rang.  My mother in law answered it and came around the corner from the kitchen and whispered to me, "its the adoption agency".  She says, "they said they have been looking for you".  I told her to "RELAX, we finished our home study yesterday and they probably have a question for us."

I picked up the phone and said "Hello".  The next few minutes, I would be silent and frozen in my footsteps, for fear that I may be misunderstanding our Social workers words.  "We have a baby boy here at the hospital and the mother has selected you and Jerry to become the adoptive parents."  Not sure that I was hearing her correctly, I motioned to Jerry, to get his flippin butt over by me and listen to this.  His eyes bugged out of his head, and then he collected himself and put his hand on top of mine in order to calm me down.  When emotions rise up inside me, I tend to not hear anything anymore.....you can imagine how emotional I was feeling right now.  She was giving me instructions and all I kept hearing in my head was....we have a baby boy here.....we have a baby boy here.  What????? Are you kidding me?  Aren't we supposed to get selected and then have a few months before the baby comes.   Our social workers said, "This is was is called a baby drop".  A mother comes into the hospital in labor with no adoption plan in place.  At that point, the hospital contacts an agency to come in and consult with her and get a plan together.  Our agency got the call in the middle of the night, because they were the only agency that was available 24/7.  Most other agencies close Friday at 5:00 until Monday morning and are not available in the middle of the night.  Another example of how committed Forever Families, is to the process!  They took all of the adoptive families scrapbooks in with them for her to view and she chose us. WoW!
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So, we gathered our thoughts.  First, we needed to go home.  On the ride home, I asked Jerry, "what are we going to name him?  He gave me a look, that I immediately understood.  The look said, "lets not jinx it by getting ahead of ourselves".  This could all fall through.  Up popped those protective walls that you build around you when you go through this.  After that, I don't think either one of us said another word on that hour drive home. Once home, we started trying to figure out where we could go get our physicals.....immediately.  We can't take a baby home unless all the details are finalized.  Fortunately, we had picked up a used cradle along the way, so Jerry assembled it.  We figured out where to get physicals, but it would not happen until tomorrow morning.  Our social worker said that we needed to be at the hospital at 12:30pm tomorrow to "sign the papers".  We headed out to Mejier's for a "get what we need" run.  We were there until Midnight.  We had a blast.  We were exhausted. It was time to get a good night sleep.  Right, that's gonna happen.

Please check out my links list and click on Disney Family.com and vote for my youngest little guy.  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dive In

Journal entry dated November 10, 2000 - We finished our home study with the Social worker this week.  We are just waiting for our background checks to come through and Jerry and I still need to get our physicals.  It's just a matter of waiting now.  Who knows how long it will take....I'm still thinking about going back to work while we wait.  I won't go back to the corporate world....I hated it.  It is so hard to get in that mode of thinking when all that I really want is to be a mother and live all that comes with that.  I am just glad that we have our agency and we have moved along through the process in order to get closer to the building of our family.  It hasn't been easy.  Jerry has his guard up.  I can't do anything about that.  He worries someone will take advantage of us somewhere along the way.  This is unchartered territory for us and the world of adoption seems so unregulated.  My gut tells me that we are in good hands with Forever Families.  This is one of those times that you just dive in and hope for the best.  My heart keeps hoping that a baby will come soon.  I have experienced many different levels of emotional pain in my life, this heartbreak is such a deep ache that never goes away, even when I am not thinking about it, it is still there lurking beneath life's daily challenges .  I look at little faces different than I did five years ago.  All of this has changed me.  I see the twinkle in the eyes of every child that I meet....maybe, had I not lived this painful 5 years, I wouldn't have noticed that?  I read something once that has always stuck with me.  I don't remember where I read it, but it said, "the best gift that you can give your child everyday is that when they walk in the room...let them see your eyes light up with excitement." This, I will do.  Thanks for listening.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Life's Little Treasures

I know that most of my blog has been about bringing you up to speed on where we are in our life today, but today I wanted to share a current event.  Jerry had today off along with the kids for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and we wanted to do something fun with the kids.  Something that in the last few years hasn't been easy for us with the economy and all.  We have had a rough couple of years with Jerry losing his overtime and me staying at home.  Don't get me wrong, we are one of the lucky ones who didn't lose their income completely.  Sometimes, we were struggling to get through the month to the next payday.  Getting paid once a month is hard to manage with 4 kids and all of the EXTRA things that pop up unplanned.  You know, field trips and a turn at snack mom for preschool, roller skating parties for school, a donation here and there for the elementary school.    It all adds up, so the kids learned that we needed all of our money for the things that allowed us to stay in our home and have food and gas for the cars, NO EXTRAS.  It was tough, but actually they conformed quite well to the budget and because of that hard time, I can proudly say that my kids "GET IT".  So, now that times have gotten a little better for us, we try to treat them to something that we had to "give up" during that time.

So, we were sitting at the MJR theatre, with our 3D glasses on, armed with the juice boxes and snacks that I smuggled into the biggest purse I had, (oh, c'mon, don't tell me you all haven't done it).  It cost $42.00 to just get a family of 6 in the door.  The popcorn and candy is like highway robbery.  I don't feel bad in the least.  The lights were dimming and the kids were so excited to see the new YOGI Bear Movie.  Jerry and I, with four seats filled with happy kids between us, looked at each other down the row and through our stretched out, recycled 3D glasses, gave each other a silent affirming smile that we must be the luckiest Mom and Dad in the whole world.  Their laughter was icing on the cake.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thoughts from a Birthmother to her child....

ON THE WINGS OF A PRAYER
I set you free on the wings of a prayer
To fly through life in His tender care,

You're free from the nest and the ties that are bound
Free from the pressures I carry around.

If I kept you I'd only be cutting your wings,
Not offering the chance a true family brings.

The decision I've made has my heart torn in two,
But I know what I'm doing is the best thing for you.

The sky is so vast, the mountains so high
Take wing and remember: I love you.

Goodbye.

--LISA BOTE-PHILLIPS, a birth mother


I thought that I would share this with you.    I loved it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Putting yourself out there...exposed.

WoW.  Last night I was laying awake, thinking about yesterdays post.  It brought back some of those old feelings that we went through.  When we were waiting for a birthmother to select us, we felt so exposed.  In our scrapbook to show the world that we were "worthy" of being parents, we put it all out there.  Imagine that.  It was not easy for my husband Jerry to do that.  By nature, he is a very private person and he had to really reach down deep in order to put himself out there.  I was very proud of him because, I know that most men would not be comfortable doing so.   I am realizing through this blogging thing, that him and I have really grown a lot from those two scared people, who had a dream and kept running into walls at every turn.....but, we never gave up.  We would just pick up the pieces and look for another road to travel.  Quiting was NEVER an option for either one of us.  I do understand how some people come to the decision to stop and accept that they will not be parents.  Figuring it all out can be so exhausting both mentally and emotionally.  Sometimes, I would look at my little Lucy and think, well, I love dogs, maybe I could just get a few more of them and be happy.  Those thoughts quickly dissolved for me. 

Though we were just at the beginning of a new road and scared to death that this adoption path may not pan out either, there was a level of excitement brewing in our hearts.  The thought of a precious little bundle, out there somewhere, looking for US, was enough to keep us going.  We believed it would happen.  Someday. We still had our final visit with the social worker to complete and then we were ready......Bring It On!!!!!

This morning when I woke up I heard 4 little voices arguing over the Wii and I just smiled......thankful.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dear Birthmother

I am going to share a very personal letter with you today.  This letter came from my heart.  It is our "Dear Birthmother" letter.   This was a very challenging letter to write.  I was trying to keep in mind how a birth mother would be feeling as she read our letter and what words would comfort her as she made, what seemed to me, to be an impossible decision.  We couldn't possibly understand where each other was coming from, but I felt that there had to be some common ground for us to meet.  The agency told us that you never know what one peice of information may draw a birth mother to you, so we should be thorough and full of detail.  This is our letter.

Dear Birthmother,

Selecting a future home and family for your child is a very difficult and important decision.  We greatly respect and appreciate your need to know about us and the kind of home that we would provide for your child.  By gaining some insight into our lives, we hope your uncertainties will be relieved.

We have been happily married for 5 years.  As time has passed, we have become true "soul mates", whose personalities compliment each other.  The love, friendship and mutual respect grows with  each year we are married.  Our home is filled with warmth, laughter and wonderful experiences with family and friends.  Our goal as parents is to share this life with children and to give them all the joys, love, educational opportunities and adventures that help create healthy, happy children and adults.  Jerry and I have agreed that when we are blessed with a child, that I will be able to stay at home with them.

Jerry and I are both  the oldest children in our families.  Our parents instilled in us an understanding of the value of close family ties and a strong faith.  Although our lives are full of many things, family is our primary focus. Our parents look forward to the joy of being grandparents and watching Jerry and I live our dream of being a mother and a father.  This will be the first grandchild for both sided of the family.

We are very fortunate that our families get along very well and quite often, we spend holidays all together.  Our parents went on a cruise together this year to celebrate their anniversaries.  This, is a source of great joy for Jerry and I to know that we have successfully merged our two families. We also have a very sweet and loving 4 year old Cocker Spaniel named Lucy.  She is a very important part of our family and can't wait to have a playmate.

Together we enjoy many activities.  We love to golf with family and friends or just the two of us.  We both like running.  Recently we ran a 5K race in memory of a child who sadly passed very young.  We plan to run the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Detroit this year.  We enjoy cider mill trips every year.  Fishing is big at our house too.  One of our most favorite things to do together is to go to sporting events.  Remodeling projects around the house are very challenging, but gratifying for us. We are not afraid to tackle the "unknown".  Jerry also loves to play league basketball with his friends, while I sit in the cheering section.  I love reading, scrapbooking and exercise of any kind.  I enjoy flower gardening and baking. Cookies are my favorite.  My mom and I have an annual Christmas cookie bake day where we bake cookies all day long.  Its a great tradition that I would love to share with a child.  There is room for a "little one" in all that we do. 

Our home is in a small community on a lake with a beach. There is plenty of fishing, swimming and turtle collecting going on in the summer and kids go skating and play hockey on the in the winter.  We have lots of squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks and beautiful birds.  Lemonade stands are a favorite pastime for the kids in our neighborhood.  The elementary and middle schools are in our subdivision, along with a horse farm with in walking distance.  One of the reasons that we chose this home is because the school district is very highly regarded.   We have many children in the immediate area of our home.  We have a spacious home with 4 bedrooms and a fantastic view of the sunset.  We have already started working on the new baby's room in anticipation.

Jerry and I have been unable to have children by birth and the decision to adopt was natural for us. Through every step of our journey, we have drawn great strength from our faith in God.  We truly feel that we have been blessed to find each other and are committed to having a strong, loving and fun marriage.  We long to share all of our joys and blessings with our future child.  Our family and friends have been supportive of our decision to adopt a child.  We are committed to making a child's life as full and as rich as ours have been.  We are committed to making you, the child's birthmother, feel secure in the knowledge that your child is growing up in a loving and healthy environment.  We promise that your child will know the great love you feel and the unselfish sacrifice that you made when you entrusted this young life to us to raise in our loving family.

Thank you very much for considering us.  God Bless you in your decision.

Sincerely,
Jerry and Amy


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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Momentary Meltdown

Occasionally, throughout my years of infertility I would have what I called a "Momentary Meltdown".  These came when my emotional well being was in conflict with Jerry's theories about logical thinking and suppressing feelings.   Most of us women know that the two do not work well together.  How do they do that whole thing?  You  know....."not think about it".  Guys can push emotions down deep inside and bury them.  Me....I try, but it gets all mangled up with the "what if" thinking, and the "why" thinking. 

Journal entry dated October 26, 2000 - For a few days, my head has been focused on my body.....I was LATE.  At least 5 days late, so naturally, my thoughts have gone right to....what??? Yes.  Could I be pregnant???? My head knows better.  My heart is an IDIOT.  It falls for it every time.  Anyways, today "it" came and yes, again, I fell apart.  Jerry kept telling me.....you know that you are not, so don't think about it. Me SCREAMING!!!!!!! It is impossible to not go there...my heart wants it so bad.  Anyways, I cried and cried and cried today, and now I feel better and I think I will go bake a cake.....sounds funny, but baking makes me feel better.
*
Journal entry dated October 27,2000 - Had our Halloween party last night.   All of our friends came out to Brighton.  They are awesome.  Most of them are not married or having kids yet, so they don't understand my pain, but they are so supportive and loving towards Jerry and I.  We are so lucky to have them all.  No meltdowns either.  Well, maybe one little mini meltdown during the evening, but I got over it.  Someone at the party was pregnant and I wasn't prepared. Add a little alcohol to an emotional volcano and you get eruption. All in all it was a good night.  Tomorrow, I have to pick 3 people who are not family members to write an essay about Jerry and I.  Kind of like a character reference.....probably should not pick people that we party with...LOL.    My mom and Jerry's mom wrote "Letters to the Birthmother", and both letters were amazing.  I think everyone should experience a letter like that from their parents.  The comfort of that unconditional love is such a blessing.  I have finished my "Dear Birthmother" letter too.
*
Tomorrow, I will share a little of my "Dear Birthmother" letter.  The Birthmother letter goes into the scrapbook that the agency shows to expectant mothers who are considering adoption.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Control Freak

I thought that I would share a little with you about my faith.  I am christian.  I became a christian in my 27th year on this planet after a very difficult time in my life.  I had been raised christian, but truly accepted Christ as my own personal savior that year.  For the most part, I lean on God and leave my worries at his feet and let him guide me.  Occasionally, I pick them right back up and think that I can do it myself.  Then, I put them back down there, again.  This I struggle with because, I can be a bit of a control FREAK.  God knows this about me.  He taps me on the shoulder and reminds me that I am doing "it" again.  I must give God a lot of credit for getting me through my years of infertility.  There is this part of you that feels broken or incomplete when you can't just "have a baby" when you want to.  I used to get so mad inside when I would hear women talk about how horrible it was to be pregnant and that they just wanted it OVER.  Really??? I would have swapped places with them in a flash. Morning sickness, getting fat, swollen feet.....all of it.  To me the process of making a baby was still such a miracle.  Many people forget that it is truly a miracle.  Anyways, during the process of signing up for adoption and getting everything all in order, I was starting to feel like my thoughts were drifting back to the desire to experience pregnancy.  I realized that I had been in denial.  In my mind, I felt that I was "over" that stuff.  In my heart, there was a part on me still clinging to the possibility that it could still happen.....someday.  All of this was brought on by the reality that we haven't actually been "Approved" to adopt yet.  We still had another home study visit on the calendar and still didn't know where the money for all of this was going to come from.  Here we are at age 34 with a mortgage, two cars, some credit card debt and we just finished spending about $30,000 on infertility projects and now we needed to come up with more money for adoption.  I was feeling a little overwhelmed by it all.  Jerry kept saying, "we'll figure it out, don't worry".  Jerry is the eternal optimist in this relationship. His motto.....when things get tough....Go Golfing!  So we did.  In a weird way, he is right.  Golfing requires a lot of thought process, so it blocks out what is troubling your mind...for a few hours.  We golfed a LOT.  So, between God, Jerry and golf, I hope to make it through all of this baby stuff with a sound mind.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time moves very slow when you are Waiting

I want to share my very favorite quote.  I found it when I was 21 years old and  I was going through a difficult time.  At that age, most of us are still very selfish.  Thinking that the world revolves around us.  At that age, you do not realize that the decisions that you make could have impact on the rest of your life.  I have kept this quote close throughout my life to remind me that this is the kind of person that I want to be. 

How far you go in life, depends on your being...
Tender with the young,
Compassionate with the aged,
Sympathetic with the striving, and
Tolerant with the weak and the strong;
BECAUSE someday in your life....
You will have been ALL OF THESE.
--George Washington Carver

 Journal entry dated October 29, 2000 - I am going crazy.  I think Jerry is gonna jump ship.  I know that I am making him NUTS.  This waiting stuff is excruciating.  I know that we just got started, but my mind is running 24/7.  What if no one picks us?  What if our scrapbook offends a birthmother?  What if I didn't do enough.  What if....What if....What if?  I am excited....worried......nervous....you name it and I am it.  The big what if.....What if we NEVER get to be parents?  I have wanted a family for a long time.  Actually, I always wanted a big family.   I came from a family of four.  One brother and Mom and Dad.  I always envied people who had big families.  Now here I am hoping for the chance at just one.  One little baby.  That is all that I am asking.  One little baby who needs a mommy and and a daddy to love them forever.
*
I view myself as a pretty sane person, but I was completely consumed with the process of adoption and preparing for a baby.   I couldn't think of anything else.  I think I almost drove my "support system", meaning, my poor mother to flee the country.  She listened to it EVERYday.  I thank GOD for her, because she kept me on track.  One minute, I was crying because I would be feeling hopeless and the next hour, I would call her back on cloud nine filled with optimism.  I know I made her crazy.  In all of my own conflict, I didn't realize the pain that she was in.  Her heart was breaking because her child was in such turmoil and she felt completely helpless.  She was a rock for me in spite of her own emotions, which brings me back to my quote.  This quote describes the way that my mother lives her life and she has always been an inspiration to me.  I love you mom and I would not be where I am today without you and Dad and your support for my crazy journey.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Love this quote from Eckhart Tolle

"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)

Tick Tock

At this point, it was now a waiting game.  Kinda like sitting on a time bomb.  Tick Tock.  At any time the phone could ring and there could be a baby waiting, while on the other hand, it could be a long wait.  So, you see, just because we moved on to adopting, we still were not without the rollercoaster ride of emotion.  I was ready to take it on.  I was just hoping that the anticipation wasn't going to make us nuts.  We were still going through the details of the home study, getting state and city security clearances, and we still needed to get physicals. 

Journal entry dated October 12, 2000 - I realized that this week marks the 5 year point since we started trying to have children.  We started 2 months after getting married. 
*
We were ready.  I remember talking about kids on our first date.  On the second date, we went to dinner at and sat there for about 4 hours talking about everything under the sun.  I should probably mention that when Jerry and I first met, we were at a party.  A birthday party for a guy that I went to high school with and then Jerry met in college.  We talked briefly, but I was NOT looking for a boyfriend.  At the end of the night, he asked me for my number and told me that he was leaving the next day for a business trip and would be gone for a month, but could he call me.  I gave it to him and didn't think that much of it.  He was cute and all, but I wasn't looking for Mr. Right at the time.  He called me from the road and we talked for about 3 hours that first night.   I was so surprised.  He was pretty cool.  Every night after that, I hoped to hear from him and when I did, it was hours of talking.  We hadn't even been on a date yet and I was falling for the guy.  That was so NOT me.   We talked most nights for that whole month that he was gone.  When he was home, we went on our first date and it was the clincher for me.  I wanted to date this dude. 

Now, back to our second date which was in March of 1995.  On that date, we both expressed our feelings about everything including kids and adopting .  Cool, this guy gets it.  That night, he took me over to his house to meet his dog......an adorable little Cocker Spaniel named Caly.  He had rescued this little dog from and older lady who couldn't care for her anymore and they were buddies.  It was cute.  (He is gonna love me for this).  Anyways, I was hooked. Did I forget to mention that Jerry was wearing cowboy boots.....little did he know that I had a thing for guys in cowboy boot.  The point to all this is that, I realized that Jerry and I were on the same page about life and what we wanted and hoped for in our lives.  We were on our way.  Five months later, we said our I do's. 
*
Journal entry dated October  17, 2000 - Sitting on the couch watching tv.  Jerry is in St. Louis again.  These weeks where he is gone Tuesday through Friday are tough.  Ran 5 miles today.  I am still planning on running the Turkey Trot.   Running started out as part of my healing process, but now it is my favorite thing to do when I need to clear my head.  Jerry and I are planning to have a Halloween Party, so I am getting started on that.  I had a weak moment today and went baby stuff shopping.  I am excited about the possibilities and can't contain myself sometimes.  Thank GOD for mom.  She has been my ROCK.  I wish that I had someone to talk to about all of this adoption stuff.  My mom is supportive, but you really can't understand this stuff unless you have been through it.  I am journaling about all of this, so that maybe someday, my story could help or comfort someone else who is going through it.  Just to know that your feelings aren't "weird".  If one more person says to me, "just relax, it will happen"!  I might just rip their hair out.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stepping into the Unknown

Journal entry dated September 23, 2000 - It has been awhile since my last entry.  A lot has been going on.  We are in middle of the home study, which I must say is SO nerve wracking.  The agency sends a Social Worker to your house.  Many questions are fired at you. Jerry and I are paranoid about every answer that we give them.  It is like going through a interview that goes on for weeks in which, at the end some stranger decides whether or not you are "an acceptable human being".  Every decision that you made along the way in your life comes into play.  Every mistake that you thought was behind you can resurface, because of one question that the social worker asks.   Then, when they leave your house (that you cleaned till 2:00am the night before, so it was PERFECT), Jerry and I would wonder, did we do OK???  We are very excited. We hope that we will be blessed with a child.......soon.  They do warn you though that it could take a while.
*
Forever Families www.forever-families.org/ , was the smallest agency that we considered.  They only take 25 families at a time, therefore, you are only competing with 24 other couples.  The two women, who owned the agency, just really made me feel that they were the right fit for us.  They were in it for the babies and finding good homes.  They did not seem motivated by $$$$$$$$.  One of the women treated me like a daughter and seems like she is really looking out for us.  She gave me some peace about the process.

I am very proud of the scrapbook that we put together for "the pool" of families.  It is amazing how eye opening it can be when you have to select pictures from your life, set them up like a story, to show a stranger, and then hope that they get who you are and what you have to offer a child, just from pics and writings.  Tricky.  But it was a deeply gratifying experience for me.  It made me realize how blessed that I am in my life.  I have absolutely wonderful parents, who were on board with everything we needed.  I have the husband that I always hoped for (of course, he is still a work in progress too. LOL), but, wonderful nonetheless...and I am healthy. I am turning the scrapbook in on friday.  Fingers crossed.
*
Journal entry dated September 28, 2000 - Lucy is lying on my feet at the end of the bed SNORING.  Jerry is in St. Louis, working at the plant.  He went to Austria last week and says it was unbelievable and is taking me next time.  He is gone more that he is home right now. I am exhausted.  I did a lot of outside work today, planting grass seed, planting bulbs and then I went for a 7 mile run.  I don't know what I would do without being able to run.  It clears my mind and I escape my troubles.  I am trying to live by these three things:  Stay fit;  Don't spend; Laugh a lot.
*
I probably forgot to mention that I quit my job right before we did the first ICSI, because I was commuting for 2 and a half hours everyday to work, and the doctors had told us that driving stress can contribute to infertility.  Jerry was "not really" on board with the decision to quit, but in my pshycho state of mind, I wanted to eliminate EVERYTHING that might get in the way.  Now, that we were trying to adopt, we (and I use the term "we" loosely) decided that since we had already decided that I was going to be a stay at home MOM anyways, it didn't make sense (in my head) to get a job closer to home at this time. It didn't matter how much the agency prepared us, in my mind, it had to happen soon, right?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cut to the Chase

I'll cut to the chase and tell that we did go on to do the 2nd ICSI in May of 1999 and unfortunately, there was no pregnancy from the procedure.  I was very deflated to say the least, but through the grace of God and a loving supportive family, I survived.  I tried really hard everyday to stay out of the "Why Me" frame of mind.  Anyone who has gone through years of trying and failing, tends to get caught up in that.  I can't say that I didn't fall into it quite a bit myself, but I am here to say that time does heal.  Our doctors said that they recommended that we try again since we had one success.  SUCCESS?  Are you looking at my file MISTER.  That was the "reactionary" part of me lashing out.  I do tend to be a reactionary person, but I must say that having 4 children has helped me tighten the reigns on that.  Again, I am a work in progress.

For me, it was an emphatic NO.  I will not go through it again.  I needed time.  Even before that last ICSI, I had started looking into adoption.  Just to familiarize myself with the World of Adoption.  It was a bit scary, unregulated fees, and procedures, court costs and red tape.  Oy!  Was I up for this???????

In May 2000 doctors approached us about trying a few more inseminations which were much less invasive,less expensive and not as emotionally traumatizing.  We considered this.  Even after all of the tests and procedures done on Jerry and I, we were still classified as "Unexplained Infertility".  Really????  All the money that we had spent and all that we had gone through, there were still no guarantees, no affirmative answers.  I was emotionally spent.  Jerry just wanted me to be happy and he would go along with whatever I decided.  "It's your body and you have to go through it, so you decide", is what he would say.  So, in June of 2000 I half heartedly agreed to try inseminations for 6 months. Then, we're DONE!


Journal entry dated August 5, 2000 - Dear God.  I am sitting here in the parking lot of the doctor.  I know that I agreed to do 6 months of these inseminations, but as I sit here after just taking the blood test to find out if the 3rd one will be the one that takes, I find that I don't even care.  I feel calm and I feel that my perspective is clear.  I am ready to move on and adopt babies.  I believe that my heart is healing and for some reason I realized that I have thought that in order to adopt, I would have to give up on the dream of Jerry and I having a biological child and accept that I would never experience pregnancy and having a baby. I am beginning to realize that I could do both. Anyways, God (sorry for the rambling, I will get to the point).  Please give me the strength to move through this adoption process with patience and grace.  I am ready for what the process brings me in whatever shape or form that may be.  Jerry and I welcome the possibility of having a real family.  Thanks for listening.
*
Journal entry 2 dated August 5, 2000 - I got this overwhelming feeling tonight to get things in order with the Adoption agency.  The feeling was that the baby meant for Jerry and I may already be well on the way.  In August 2000, we signed up with Forever Families in Novi, (www.forever-families.org/). So I am working hard on the scrapbook that we have to compile for birthmothers to  look at in order to select a couple whom she would like to raise her child.  Yes, she picks YOU!  Like and interview of sorts.  Most important interview of our lives.  JOB: Parents. I like the sound of that.
*
I have always believed in listening to my instincts, because most of the time, I have been right.  So, I bought a baby blanket at Meijer that I had looked a million times and I was so nervous.  The cashier said, Oh, are we going to a baby shower.  Nervously, I said, I hope so.  She looked at me funny, but I didn't explain.  I had refused to buy ANYTHING until we were selected, but my instincts were screaming at me.....BUY IT!!!!!  I went home and put it "way" back in the closet of the "future" baby's room.  Now, on to the details of adopting.  Oh and by the way that blood test, was negative.  Then End of That stuff!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Babies, Babies, Babies

Jerry and I, even though we were sad, we planned to "pick up our ball and get back in the game", so to speak.  Neither of us have ever been one to back down from a challenge....but this challenge would be mixed with a lot of emotion.  All in all, our outlook was good.
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Journal entry dated January 14, 1999 - I fear that I will never experience that joy.  You know the joy you see on a mothers face on those "Baby Stories" shows on TLC.  When the nurse puts the baby on your tummy and you see your little angel FOR THE FIRST TIME.  Will we be that BLESSED???  I am hopeful, but guarded.  I am good at that  whole "guarded" thing.  Too good, I would say.  "Suck it up", is what that little voice inside me says.  Never let anyone see you......down.  All I want it to be a good mother.  Boy, girl, I don't care, just a good, old fashioned mother.  Its funny, but lately, everywhere I look, its Babies, Babies, Babies.  Tv, magazines, casual conversation.  Was it always there?  Maybe I just didn't notice, because it wasn't the primary thing on my plate?  I can't get away from it. I don't really want to get away from it, but boy does it hurt.
*
We decided to head into the 2nd try at ICSI.  March 1st will be when we start the process.  We were a little stressed about money and how to pay for another procedure, fortunately it was tax time and that little return was going to be the ticket.  Oh, and in the middle of all of this, my husband decided to go back school to get him masters degree. 
*
Journal entry dated April 15, 1999 - Long time since writing. A lot has gone on.  Blood test, ultrasounds, waiting, timing the cycles, waiting and all of a sudden it is April.  I am ready to get going on this.  The doctors told us that we could do this procedure up to 3 times, but I am pretty sure that if this one doesn't work, I will be moving on to other options.  Its funny, but as you go through all of this, you become more open to things that you were not open to when you first started.  You evolve.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An answered prayer....or was it?

I know I kinda left ya hanging yesterday.  Yes our prayer was answered.  We were expecting, not one but two little ones.  We were PUMPED to say the least.  We had decided to do our nursery in the Winnie the Pooh theme and it was all painted already with the most wonderful shade of yellow.  I started to plan.  It was the most fun I had ever had in my life.  Fortunately, I was feeling fantastic and was forging ahead at full steam.  There was this little, tiny, miniscule voice inside me saying, whoa girl, slow it down.  It is early.  I was about 5 weeks pregnant and very tired, and I started sleeping all the time.  Christmas 1998 was wonderful....it was a new year (1999) and we were gonna celebrate a fresh new beginning toward building our family.  At the 6th week mark, I felt a little cramping....
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Journal entry dated January 5,1999 - Long time since I journaled. Christmas was great.  New Years was fun.  We had some really good times.  Unfortunately, yesterday....we lost our pregnancy.  We had a terrible time of it.  Thank you God for the blessing of strength and for a calm, cool and collected husband.  He was awesome.  I had never experienced such emotional and physical pain simultanously.  I could see the pain in Jerry's eyes because he couldn't do anything but comfort me. I have been pretty strong, but the dam is starting to crack.  I cried the night it was happening, but that was mostly fear.  Since we went to the doctor to confirm the miscarriage, I haven't allowed myself to feel the emotional pain.  I know that I want to try again, and Jerry does too.  It didn't scare us off, but we will have to regroup.  I won't let the fear of failing prevent us from carrying on to our dream of having our own child.  It will take great strength to move forward and that, we will get from God and our love for one another.
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Through all of this, I forgot to mention this silly little cocker spaniel that adored me in this story.  Her name is Lucy and she was my little rock of comfort.  Jerry and I got her about a year into our marriage and since he traveled so much, she was my little companion in life.  If you have ever experienced the comfort that a pet family member can give, then you can understand what this little angel meant to me.  Unfortunately, she has since passed, but I will refer to her throughout my blog very lovingly.

Lucy Flower
I've added a page with favorite poems and quotes that have touched my heart.  I hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reflection

It's funny, but since I started this blog, I have looked back at the journals that I kept during the years of our "Infertility Wars".   I have found that rereading the words that poured out of my heart and onto those pages, was heart breaking.   It is amazing how far that I have come from those days.  After 2 months of contemplation....we moved forward into the ICSI process.
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Journal entry dated November 19, 1998 - Today was our first day of shots.  Were getting closer to the "procedure".  For the most part, I am very excited about all of this, but I am struggling with the recommendation from the doctors to selectively reduce any fetuses over two.  I realize that doing so,  will give any babies I do carry to term a better chance, but it is really difficult to imagine having to do this.  All that I can do is pray and hope that the issue does not come about.  Upon going into this, I didn't realize the scope in which I would be tested.  Thankfully, I have great faith in the man upstairs and have been blessed with a wonderful husband and family.  I am very blessed.

Journal entry dated November 28, 1998- Today was the first day of the Humegon shots.  This shot will trigger my ovaries to produce multiple eggs.  Feeling pretty good today.  We are about 2 weeks from the "procedure".  My ultrasound on Wednesday went well and Dr. Ayers says that everything is in order.  Whatever that means. So far, no problems with the process.

Journal entry dated December 6, 1998 -Two days until the  "procedure".  All shots have gone well. All ultrasounds went well this week.  Three of them. Yikes.  It looks like I have produced at least 9 eggs.....whoa!  It felt like I was carrying basketballs in there.  Bulging. I am quite uncomfortable, but nothing unbearable.  Tonight we do the final shot that tells my ovary to release the eggs.

Journal entry dated December 7, 1998 -  Tomorrow is the day of retrieval.   Sperm injection for each egg and hopefully....BOOM....we will have some embryos.  Nervous to say the least. 

Journal entry dated December 8, 1998 - We did it!  My little ovaries made 12 eggs.  Woo Hoo!  I was shocked.  No wonder I couldn't sit for days before the "procedure".  Made our final payment today, bringing the total to $9,500.00.  It is worth it for a chance to have children. Jerry was awesome as usual today.  He always comes through for me.  It's almost 3 years now since we first started to try to have a family.  Many tests and procedures have come and gone and through it all, Jerry and I have stayed focused and never let any of it come between us.  Our marriage has always been our primary concern.  Taking it easy tonight. As I sit here, my eggs are in a lab at Chelsea Hospital being injected with the little guys.  It is a strange feeling.  Now it is just a waiting game now and we are holding on to our dream.

Journal entry dated December 10, 1998 - I am sitting here in the living room watching "Mad About You", and Jerry is sitting next to me writing in his journal.Yesterday was quite an experience.  Our parents were there in the waiting room with Jerry while I was in surgery.  I will never forget the moment that I got to tell Jerry that we got 5 fertilized eggs.....he lit up like a little boy on Christmas morning.  NOW we wait.   We should know something around December 22nd.

Journal entry dated December 16, 1998 - ANXIOUS!!!!!!!

Journal entry dated December 19, 1998 - Nervous.  Body feels WEIRD.

Journal entry dated December 21, 1998 - So Tired.  Confused.  Worried. Going Bonkers.

Journal entry dated December 22, 1998 - BLOOD TEST at 8:30.  Wait for a call.  At 4:01 pm the phone rang.  Caller Id says, pick it up you idiot.  Nurse says CONGRATULATIONS!   You're Pregnant!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A quote from Eckhart Tolle

"Gratefulness for what is there is one of the most powerful tools for creating what is not yet there. What does gratefulness mean? It means you appreciate what is. You value, you give attention to, you honor whatever is here at this moment."

You will see many quotes in my Blog from this man. 


His book "The Power of Now, a guide to spiritual enlightenment" changed the way that I lived my life.  It helped me find sanity within the crazy life that I was about to embark on.  I was going to need to find a great sense of peace to edure the emotional roller coaster that lay ahead.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where it all began

My husband Jerry and I were married in August of 1995 on a very hot and sticky day.  We were ready to take on the world.  We would have it all.....love, family....happiness all the way.    In the first year, we didn't panic when it seemed that getting pregnant wasn't going to be as easy as our parents led us to believe.  We tried a little temperature taking in the morning....counting the days of my cycle....timing whoopie.....we had a few tests, (both of us).  What we learned was that we both clearly had issues.  These issues weren't going to be anything that we couldn't tackle.  Our doctors were confident that we could conceive.....with a "little help".

In all actuality, it became a full time job.  Twelve months of inseminations....all failed.  The next step would be a crazy procedure called ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection of eggs, & then IVF & embryo transfer to the female is an effective treatment for male infertility & sperm defects).  Chew on that one for a bit.  It blew our minds.   We pondered that for a while, because one... the cost was over $10,000.00, and two.... it all sounded scary.  Harvesting eggs, shots everyday, a lot of medications,  surgery and of course all of this was not covered by insurance and.......what if none of it even worked?????? Thus, began my journey into my heart and soul for the answer to the question, "Do I really want to be a mother bad enough to go through all of this knowing the risk that it may not even result in a baby"????

The answer was YES!   I will be a Mommy or BUST!

Thanks for looking!