Sunday, October 30, 2011

Being Parents

I'm thankful every day that we get to be parents.  I often find myself thinking about what our life would be like if we didn't have Griffin.  There's SO much we wouldn't experience.

Here's one reason I love being a parent.....
Being a mom lets me be a kid again.  And, I LOVE that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week of Hope: Entry #3

Last week I was staffing a booth in support of our upcoming levy.  VOTE YES, PLEASE!

I looked over and saw a women coming down the hall of the school with her husband (who was holding a baby) and their elementary school aged son.  She's an acquaintence I don't know well, but say hello to when I see her.  Several months ago when I was purusing the LSS waiting families list (yes, I do that to see how many matched and births have occurred!)

BREAK--I just stopped to check if our profile is "live" online yet.  Nope.  Bummer.

Anyway, I saw her family on the waiting family list!  The next time I checked it said they were matched!! 

Needless to say we had a lot to talk about.  They have a beautiful baby boy, and listening to their story gave me so much hope.  They had many, many, many possible connections and matches which all failed, as well as other difficulties along the way.  But, here they were, at the end, holding their precious little boy. They never gave up, even though they wanted to at times. 

We talked and talked and talked.  They were so supportive.  We related.  Really, really related.  It felt like I met two kindred spirits. 

We talked about miscarriages and putting adoption on hold because of it.  I commented that many thought we were crazy for telling LSS about our last pregnancy in May due to our reoccurring miscarriages.  They said the same thing we thought--when you have been in a similar situation to the other 60 families that want a baby, too, and have met them at training and know how great they are--you'd tell the truth, too.  It's the right thing to do. 

We commented that we needed to get together--especially after we adopt.

And, I felt more hope that our dreams will come true.  It's been tough, and will be tough, but some day I hope we can be someone else's hope. 

All done! Just kidding.

I want to swear!  I was just about to post (and brag) that we're all done with our profile (meaning ready to mail all done) when I looked over at the printer to see the last few pages of our LSS Adoptive Family Information (income, ethnicity, religion, ya know, nothing all that important) coming through the printer streaky.  NO!  The printer is running out of black ink.  Seriously!?  So, I opened the desk drawer to see if we had an extra such luck.  But, I did find 7 (yes 7) empty cartridges.  What is wrong with me?  OK, add to the "to do list"--clean desk.  I'm sure that will get done soon, or like, never. 

Anyway, the good new is that our profile looks even better than I could have imagined--the color quality is amazing!  We had them printed at West Central Printing--Steph and Laura took great care of us!  They even sent me with a box to ship them in so that they stay in tip top condition! 

And, the other good news is that Jamie is "in town" getting his hair cut, so he can pick up a cartridge. 

And, more good news, we got to eat at Frieda's for breakfast since it's right by the print shop!

18 copies!  7 will go in binders at the LSS offices around the state.  The others will be sent to families, etc. upon request.  (We had to complete a notarized form consenting to that.)
 How ironic--in this photo is one of my favorite books on infertility--Conquering Infertility by Dr. Alice D. Domar.  I had it out because I was gathering resources for someone that's just begun her battle with infertility.  I've now switched to leisure reading rather than coping reading.  Fun!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week of Hope: Entry #2

Tuesday was a big day.  Some friends of ours that have had difficulty growing their family were blessed with a baby through adoption.  We knew the baby would most likely be born on Tuesday, so on the way to work I kept thinking about them, and how incredibly happy I was for them.  I couldn't hold back tears, I can only imagine how the day must feel, so many mixed emotions.  Then, the moment where they finally get to meet their child in person.  Amazing.  When I got the message that their baby was born, I cried again.  So absolutely happy that they finally get to be parents.  And, what wonderful parents they will make!! 

It's so inspiring to see others get through this battle and get to the other side.  That gives me hope. 

Thanks, you two, for sharing your story and giving us the hope we need to keep moving along on our family building journey!

A Week of Hope: Entry #1

It seemed like last week I had glimmers of hope every time I turned around.  It was really inspirational, especially since I had a busy, busy week and felt lots of pressure to get our profile done.

Here's the start....

The woman (and friend) that leads the infertility/family building support group that I attend contacted me about a paper she was writing for a class.  The paper needed to be on one word and she had to interview someone.  She chose the word hope, and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed.   I was glad that she thought of the word hope, and was honored that I came to mind when she thought of the word. 

She asked me questions: What does hope mean to you?  When is a time that you almost gave up hope?  When is a time that hope got you through a difficult situation?  What gives you hope?  How does hope affect your daily life?  It was easy to answer all of the questions and was good for me to reflect on hope and what it's done for my life!  It will be fun to see the end product.   Thanks, Katie!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sigh of Relief!

A huge weight was lifted off me as I attached our adoption profile to an email and sent it off to be printed.  Then, I emailed everything for our web listing to LSS. I honestly felt giddy and started to well up with tears of joy.  Soon we will have a chance at being picked to parent once again.  What a blessing!  I KNOW it will be a hard road.  I KNOW we have a lot to learn, and will continually be learning.  But, I also KNOW that we have lots and lots of unconditional love to give a child and we can't wait to share it.  I'm thrilled that we have this opportunity and that Jamie and I are on the same page and both knew our family wasn't complete yet.  I'm thrilled that we have so many people supporting us.  Any negativity we hear about our desire to adopt doesn't come from our core group. 

Many people proofed our profile, it was great to get the input of our friends, family and expert proofers!  So many great points and ideas were brought up which helped to make our profile better.  The thing I really love about it is that it's so US. The real deal. 

Many uplifting things happened this week that encourage our hope and I'll share those later.  It seemed like every time I turned around I was encouraged by a hope filled story or a "sign".  Love that!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Profile Update

We had a blast at the farm on Saturday, we were busy living the profile.  I got back to our profile on Sunday and was having fun...I was making edits and all was good.  But, time started ticking away and I started getting a little mopey about the whole thing.  I wanted to be living the profile, not writing the profile.  I was getting a little bitter that instead of enjoying life, I was back to working on paperwork for our seems so unfair that I have to take so much time away from Griffin (and my beloved naps) to do all of this.  But, as a good friend reminded me today (thanks, Dana!), what I am doing is for Griffin, too.  And, as soon as we get through the profile and website updates, I can get back to having more free time and playing farm, splashing in puddles and raking leaves with my buddy.

I wasn't in the mood to proof our profile one last time last night, Jamie did, but I went to bed.  I looked at it today and am going to call it quits.  I'll have it proofed one last time, then will send it to our social worker to review. 

I hope that whoever looks at it can see us shine through.  I have to have faith and hope that we will shine the right one.  Our birth mother. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Proofing our Home Study

So, after a nice dinner at my parent's house tonight, we came home and proofed our home study (our social worker sent it to us about two weeks ago and we finally found time to sit down together--it's been a busy two weeks!)  Initially it was fun to read, but it was loooooong.  I think maybe that has something to do with the fact that we talked A LOT during our home study meetings.  Is that a surprise?  Not a bit. 

Anyway, we read, made corrections, read, made corrections.  And, it got kinda old.  Maybe that's because we already knew the story!? 

Mid-way through I mentioned that I "needed" a snack.  Jamie thought wine sounded good.  So, we had wine and cheese.  OK, wine and Cheez-Its and cheese sticks.  I know, classy. 

I had to laugh at our extravagant date night. 

Here we are snacking, wining, reading and the toy room of all places:
We got to the part that was really hard to read, even though I lived it and knew the moments in great detail, more detail than I ever want to remember. 

It started with saying we had 3 miscarriages.  I Xed out the 3 and wrote 4.  She forgot about our most recent loss.  I haven't forgotten.

Here's the story that followed:

"The couple's 3rd miscarriage was on January 10, 2011 after their second round of IVF.  Heather was 14 weeks into the pregnancy and she felt great.  They had two ultrasounds and heard the baby's heartbeat.  They were in love with their sweet baby from the very beginning.  Heather announced her pregnancy at work that morning (some friends came over the night before to help make pink and blue cookies--everyone at work announces their pregnancies with pink and blue treats.)  After lunch she noticed a small amount of spotting and by 2:30 p.m. was in the ultrasound room and it as confirmed that their baby no longer had a heartbeat.  Heather was so scared waiting to find out and yelled "NO!" and felt Jamie lay his head on her.  Heather states that she felt stronger knowing he was there with her and told him that they would get through this and that they would have a bigger family someday."

There is more, but this is what started the tears.  It all seems so far away, yet feels so fresh.  The thought of having a baby growing inside of me seems so distant.  But, the grief is still there.

I remember yelling "NO!" so loudly that I am sure everyone in the other rooms could hear me.

I remember hearing Jamie cry and feeling that I needed to be strong to support him.  He's always been my rock and I needed to be there for him.

I remember the look of sorrow and sympathy on the ultrasound tech's face, and her gentle comment that she would give us some time, she left the room.  And, I remember the last photo she printed of our sweet little boy.  I remember feeling so grateful that she knew I wanted a picture, the last thing I would ever have to remind me of him. 

I remember calling work and asking an email to be sent out ASAP to stop the congratulatory emails.  And, I remember calling my mom.  The first thing I said is, "Mom, I want you to know we will be OK, but...."  I didn't want her to worry.  What mom wouldn't?  I wanted to hug her so bad knowing that she, too, was experiencing great loss.  Her cherished grandchild was no longer alive in me. 

Home study.  We got through reading the rest of it and it circled back to our commitment and excitement for adoption.  But, for now, I'm back to mourning our little boy that we won't meet until we go to heaven.

Tomorrow is a new day. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We're in!!!!!!! Well, almost.

We got the message today!!!  We were invited to put our family profile in the adoptive families book through LSS.  Holy buckets.  So, we're in, but not really, because we aren't quite ready!!  Can you believe that!?  We still have to make a few tweaks to our profile.  So, this weekend we'll be all over that.  Hopefully by the middle of next week we'll be able to send everything in....along with our check for $5,000 to go into the book. A lot of cash, but I am sure it will be worth every penny and more!!  Bring it on!  Hello diapers!  Hello cute baby noises!  Hello rocking chair!  Hello fighting over toys!  Hello sleepless nights!  Bring it all on!

Thanks to all of you that helped with the proofing process.  Your guidance meant a ton to me.  Truly. 

Heather, soon to be profiled with my family!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How being a bridesmaid helped my struggle with infertility.

In the summer of 2010, Jamie and I left the Center for Reproductive Medicine after signing a contract for the Attain IVF plan and writing our a big, fat check.  I headed to a nice rooftop bar to have a drink with my good (and beautiful) friend, Ann.  She showed me her incredible, gorgeous engagement ring and shared wedding plans and ideas with me (after, of course, listening to me recount every detail of our meeting at the IVF clinic).  We were drinking delicious mojitos, but that's beside the point.  I knew Ann and Jordi were planning a small wedding, so I was very pleasantly shocked and honored to be asked to be a bridesmaid in the wedding.  At the time they were planning to be married in Spain, so I sent Jamie a text telling him we were jetting off to Spain next summer/fall....he assured me that we'd make it work!  I had visions of me attending their wedding with baby in tote, or at the very least, a big baby belly.
I think you all know how that turned out.  Our year was tough, painful and full of loss and disappointment.  After a year of doing everything we could to grow our family and failing miserably, I hardly felt like myself.  I felt defeated and washed up. 

Ann and Jordi's wedding plans were underway, and it was a joy to be part of it, something bigger than ourselves--to see their love for each other and their excitement to continue their life together as husband and wife was truly inspirational.  It was so refreshing to see dreams come true.  I'm a believer in happily ever after, and even though it felt like our happily ever after was on hold, it was SO good to see it come alive for one of my dearest friends.

I bought a dress for the wedding in February, about a month after we had our 3rd miscarriage (all of the bridesmaids could pick out our own dresses in any shade of purple--I LOVED that!).  It was kinda tight.  I gained 10 pounds during our IVF process and the miscarriages that followed, so I figured I'd soon lose the weight.   

We went to a fun family shower for Ann and Jordi.  A little over a month before the shower I found out I was just over 5 weeks pregnant.  I planned to tell Ann when we were trying on our dresses that I'd be getting a maternity dress instead.  But, I miscarried shortly before the shower.  I tried on the dress I bought in February that I now planned to wear was still tight. 

Ann and Jordi made a wedding website.  Ann wrote about each of her bridesmaids, I read her description of everyone and read mine last.  I cried happy tears, her words were so sweet, I couldn't believe the person she was writing about was me!  She put so much heart into writing about each of her family members and friends, and I know it wasn't just for her, it was for us.  Ann reminded me of who I truly was, not the infertile, washed up failure I felt like.

We had a bachelorette party.  We hung out just like good old times.  I felt like myself.  For those of you that don't know, I'm kinda an entertainer at heart.

But, the dress was still tight.  By example, Ann and her sister, Kris, inspired me to take better care of myself.  5 weeks later, I tried on my dress thinking it would fit perfectly and it was too big.  After a slight freak out session, I called a friend and co-worker who saved the day and took in my dress.  I did it, the one last thing that seemed unconquerable after our struggles was the weight.  And now the IVF weight was finally gone.

The wedding came and I felt great.  I had energy, fit in my dress and best of all, I was able to see my dear friend, Ann, have her dream come true.  She married her true love.  She held on to the happily ever after, and got it.

Ann and Jordi put an amazing amount of thought into their wedding, and the events surrounding it.  They made all of their guests feel welcome, appreciated and special.  We soaked it up.

I put on my dress the day of the wedding and momentarily thought about how I was expecting to be a little over 5 months pregnant at their wedding.  And, I told myself I was OK, and I truly meant it.

 When I was handed my cute little tin that represented fertility for Ann and Jordi, I said extra prayers. 

I listened to the vows that Ann and Jordi wrote and tears filled my eyes.  I felt so blessed to be able to stand up for them and support them in their commitment.  And, I felt so blessed to see my husband looking over at me during the wedding...I know he was thinking just what I was--that Ann and Jordi have an amazing love for each other just like we do.
Jamie and I had an amazing trip, we met so many wonderful people--family and friends of Ann and Jordi--were able to "recharge our batteries" and revisit the good we have in life.  It's so good to feel like me again.

Thank you, Ann and Jordi!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Home Study Written Up!

We got an email today from our social worker that our home study was written up, so we just needed to read through it, make corrections, and it would be sent in.  I just took a peek at it and I was a little's pretty much a 15 page history of our life.  It's actually quite interesting to read (but maybe that's just because it's about OUR life!) She even wrote about how we met, and I appreciate that she commented that it wasn't my general practice to give my phone number to men that I met in bars!  It's going to be fun to read, and I want to enjoy it with Jamie, so I'll hold off until he's around so we can read through it together. I have a feeling it will make us laugh, and cry! 

I can't believe I am saying this, and might take it back if we don't get matched for a long time, but for now I can't believe how fast it's going!  There have been so many positive steps along the way.  Feelings of success, hope, excitement and progress....completely the opposite of our infertility journey.  I'm keeping the hope alive that we'll end up with another precious little addition to our family someday.  Can't wait, but I will!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Take that, Profile!

I worked my butt off on our profile last weekend and sent it to some of my peeps to proof it.  I have quite a few edits and updates to make.  On Sunday I woke up exhausted....late nights working on the profile and late nights working on work got the best of me.  I felt like I should finish updating our profile and send it off to our social worker.  But, I don't always like to do the things I should.  So, I revised my should for the day.  I should enjoy the real deal, the people in the the profile.  So, that's what I did, and I am glad I did!

We packed a picnic lunch and headed into the local small town and ate by the damn.  It's pretty there and we fed the bullheads our leftover watermelon.  (What a random sentence!)  Then we devoured some yummy frozen treats.  And, we lived the profile.  It still needs to be updated, but I guarantee that some day I'll get it done!

 G explaining to me how a damn operates, coupled with lots of hand motions.  I love this kid!

Confusion at the Castle

We went to "the castle" for my mom's birthday dinner.  Griffin wore a tie.  So cute.  It lasted about 15 minutes.  But, boy was he proud those 15 minutes! 
An elderly couple that was sitting close by started chatting with us.  We quickly discovered that the woman had some short term memory loss.  She asked Griffin's name and age many times, and always followed by answers with "4 is such a fun age, isn't it?"  She also asked me if I "just had one?"  As you all know, that makes my top 10 list of lease favorite questions.  I smiled politely and said yes.  At least I think I think I smiled politely.  Then she asked my mom how many grandchildren she had.  My mom responded with, "One, but we are going to have more!"  So, I chimed in that we were in the process of adopting a baby.  (Which sometimes feels a little deceptive since we aren't even matched, but we are in the process, right?) Anyway, the couple thought that was great and asked us where we were adopting from and all of that good stuff.  (My response, "Minnesota" seems to shock everyone.)

Later on the woman commented that Griffin looked so much like me.  Her husband hit her arm and said, "Honey, he's adopted!"  I chimed in that Griffin wasn't adopted, but our next baby will be.

Apparently we'll be one of those families that may confuse others.  That's OK, it will all make perfect sense to us.

Maybe we'll just settle for a pickup truck?

Griffin and I were on our way to his friend's house this morning and he spotted a pick up truck that was for sale in a parking lot near our home. 
G: "Mom!  Look at that pickup truck!  I think it's there because it's for sale!"
H: "You're right Bud, it looks like it's for sale."
G: "Mom, can we buy it?"
H: "Sorry, Bud, we're saving our money for something special, remember?  Do you remember what we are saving for?"
G: "Yes, a baby."
H: "Yep, and adopting a baby is WAAAAAY better than a pickup truck."
G: "I think a pickup truck would be much better."
H: Laughing.
G: "I guess I want a pickup truck AND a baby!"