Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Counting in weeks

One mark of an infertile is how we count the passage of time. Days in your cycle, two week wait, days for the transfer, etc. once we moved over to adoption world, our time markers changed. Rather than counting in days or weeks, we moved into months. We got our match eight months into our wait.

But now that we are so close to passing the great divide into the life of parents, something reminded me that even when we finally reach our dream of having a baby, we will always be part of the IF community. You see, I am back to counting my time in weeks. One week until birth. 2 or so days until termination of parental rights. One week revocation period. This is, then, one of the biggest two week waits we have ever endured. One week from today, my life gets crazy and exciting. And I'll be on pins and needles for a week after that.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hotel rant

OK, this is a minor rant about the hotel we will be staying in for the first few days while the baby is in the hospital. The baby will be born in a small town and so we will stay in a different hotel after discharge that is in a larger town. Anyway, this hotel is a major chain hotel and the rant is more about their chain than the hotel itself. I belong to their rewards program.

Here's the thing: my assistant regularly makes my travel reservations for me and so her email is connected with my rewards membership. That hasn't been a problem until now. I made our reservation over the weekend. When I made their reservation, I purposefully did not give my member number so they wouldn't connect me to my prior reservations with them. I figured I could do that on site and still get my rewards. I also made sure to use my personal email address and my personal credit card. In other words, nothing other than my name should have alerted them to who I was or any previous reservations I have made (which were always with my assistant's email and my assistant's company credit card). And then today my assistant forwards me an email from the hotel chain with an "about your upcoming trip" notice. Umm, shouldn't you use the email I gave you when making the reservation when communicating with me about the reservation?! I had already told my assistant about our plans, but what if some travel I want to keep private?!

Details, details

I can tell the time is really getting close now as we are focusing on last minute details. Reserving our hotel room, buying a present for the birthmother, getting the car seat installed, etc. We are buying her a silver necklace with the number 7 as a pendant. This will be her seventh child and with the c-section on 3-7, she said she calls this her "lucky" baby. So I hope this is a little something to help her feel closer to our son. I wanted to find something that also had a little four leaf clover or horseshoe or some other good luck charm, but since we wanted to keep the price down to avoid any taint of bribing her, the choices were limited. We also are buying a couple of games for her older children.

It is also getting harder to talk to people that we have decided not to tell about the potential adoption. I find myself trying to make a lot of noncommittal statements and figure out a way to not have someone count on me for the next few weeks, at least until we know the baby is ours and then can give them a reason for our absence from something.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Who and What to Bring for ICPC

OK, since I was gone all last week, I did pack a bunch of stuff just in case our son came early. But now that I am home, I want to make sure we have all that we need. Since he will be born in a different state, we need to be prepared to live in a hotel in that state for about 2 weeks to clear ICPC. We are staying a regular hotel right next to the hospital for the first few nights and then moving into an extended stay hotel that is farther away. So, what are the key things you couldn't live without for the first two weeks? We plan to use a pack and play for a bassinet. We plan to use disposable diapers until he grows into one size cloth diapers. And we don't want to worry about washing diapers in the hotel. I have probably way too many clothes for him in the suitcase, but I don't want to be wishing I had something and have no idea if he will be a tiny or somewhat bigger newborn. In fact, my whole set of stuff to bring is way too big, but I am worried about leaving anything behind and then wanting it. We are driving to his birth state, so it's not like we need to worry about fitting into two suitcases.

My other dilemma is WHO to bring for ICPC. My mom, sister, and ILs all want to come to his birth state. Now, if I was giving birth my mom and sister would be right there with me. And E's parents would be around all the time. But being stuck in a hotel room with them seems totally different. I have heard other adoptive parents say they felt trapped in their hotel and having my mom there telling me everything I am doing is wrong will drive me crazy. With the added stress of wondering if the birthmom will take advantage of the revocation period, I am not sure what to tell them. Today my sister found $99 tickets and wanted to get them for her and my oldest niece (who is 14) who really wants to meet the baby.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Coming closer

I am finally home from my trip. There were some bumps along the way, but overall, the project was a success. Now I just have one more week until my FMLA leave starts!

Unfortunately, I returned with a bad cold. Hopefully it will clear up in a few days, but this was one of our last weekends before the baby's arrival and we wanted to get a lot done. Oh well. One thing I insisted on doing anyway was go scrapbooking with my friend. We used to get together monthly to scrapbook, but have both been busy lately. This is a good friend and I wanted to spend some time with her. As we were leaving, it hit me that the next time I see her, my life will have completely changed. The date is really getting close now.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Inducing update

Thanks for all your comments on my question about what I was experiencing as I started pumping. I still get a little something each time, although it has gone down a bit so that it is barely a drop from each breast. There is still no milk. I have noticed that my nipples have gotten huge and I need a bigger size of the shields on the pumps. My breasts have maybe gotten a little bigger, but it is hard to tell.

Today I finally wrap up my trip and head home. It's been a long but productive trip. I will be glad for some relaxing time this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


February is a big month for birthdays in our family. Today is my E's birthday! His mother's birthday was a few days ago, and my mom's is tomorrow. Through in my grandma, our nephew, and a few aunts and uncles, and it is a full month indeed. That was one thing that made it so exciting when we first heard about this match. The due date was originally in February. Perfect for our family! When it was pushed back to March, we did have a sigh of relief of a few more weeks to get ready. But still it would have been cool to have him born in February with so much else in our family. And I will admit that part of me is hoping for a leap year baby! I am quite content to wait until March, but wouldn't leap year be awesome? Happy Birthday, E. I love you and wish we did not have to be apart today. I hope this next year is all you have dreamed of.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


So we are entering some uncertain territory with the birthfather being a no-show. According to our lawyer, he has done enough to meet the very low bar of birthfather involvement that the lawyer would not advise us to move forward if he wants to contest the adoption. And we don't want to get into a battle with a birthfather anyway. However, not consenting and contesting are two very different things. While he has advised the birthmother against adoption, whenever she reiterates her commitment to it, he says he will go along. And he did tell the social worker that he would consent and she was quite happy with how that conversation went. He could just have other things going on in his life that make him not show up. So it is all about waiting and praying.

In other news, I'm not doing too well with ICLW. For one thing, my work schedule has been killer. So I come back to my hotel room and want to collapse. But I am also having computer problems that keep me from commenting. For some reason, on most blogs the "post a comment" button is not shown. At first I thought the blog owner had disabled it accidentally, but when it was multiple people who all thought they would be getting a lot of comments, I began to suspect it is me. I've never had this problem before, but I've noticed this computer is doing all sorts of other funky things on this trip. So for those visiting from ICLW, please know I'm trying!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Today was not such a good day for our adoption progress. The bf was supposed to meet to sign the consent and he was a no show. I am told that is not so unusual, but the social worker was concerned that she hasn't heard from him about why he didn't show. She is trying to set up another meeting with him.


Monday, February 20, 2012


Welcome to everyone from ICLW!

You are stopping by at quite a busy and exciting time over here. I am Missy, my husband is known as E. After several years of infertility and various treatments, we decided adoption was the best route for us. Our home study was completed last summer. In mid-January, we were matched! A little boy is due in early March! Thanks for joining us as we enter these last few weeks before the big day.

As you are reading this, I am actually on a plane heading out of town for a work project. You know, because my life was seeming a little boring at the moment. This week is a big week for a major project I am overseeing at work and it requires me to be out of town. This put me in quite an awkward spot. On the one hand, we are keeping the circle of people who know about our match very small to avoid having to tell too many people should the birthmother change her mind. I have told three people who are sort of like my supervisors (our organizational structure is odd-don't ask), my assistant, and the person who will take over for me during my leave. And some HR people as I am applying for FMLA, but I don't really count them since it is their job to be discrete. But most of the people on the large team that I oversee don't know. I mean, they know we are trying to adopt in the abstract, but not that we hope it will happen in two and a half weeks.

So this was dilemma, knowing that our due date is not for two weeks, but also recognizing that babies can come early. Do I not schedule myself on this trip and then have to come up with an excuse to tell everyone on the team? Or do I plan to go and then figure out what to do should the baby come early. I chose option B. My boss understands that if we get a phone call that the baby is coming now, I will leave the project and fly to the state where the birthmom is. In addition to packing for my trip, I also packed our baby supplies and what we need for ICPC so my husband can put everything in the car and go and meet me at the airport in the birth state. Whew!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Time is flying

I can't believe it is the weekend already. We only have two and a half more weeks. Eek! Today we hope to finally our tree mural and curtains up. At that point the nursey itself will be nearly finished. Although there is still that whole "get a crib mattress" bit we have to think about. But we plan on using a pack and play in our bedroom for the first few months anyway, so that can wait. I want to get some closet organizers.

I only have two more weeks at work. And next week I will be out of the office the whole week, so really it seems like only one week. Is it wrong that part of me is counting down the days until I am on leave from work rather than when our son will be here? Generally I like my job, but there are a few things where I am like "hey, that's going to be someone else's problem soon."

My other random thought is that I wonder what the mail/UPS guy is thinking. I was never the type to get to know my delivery person, even when I was in grad school and was home during the day. Until we got married and started receiving 2-3 packages a day. Then the UPS guy made a special effort to introduce himself and comment on all the packages. He was very nice and we worked out a plan for where to put packages when we are not home. Now I come home and again am greeted with a pile of packages. It is just making me think of that time right around our wedding when our mail also increased. It made me smile and was a reminder (as if I needed one) of how this is one of life's major events.

*Edited to add these pictures of our almost finished nursery.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What is this?

The protocol my doctor put me on (after talking with the lactation consultant at our hospital) was not the usual protocol that you read about (i.e., not Newman-Goldfarb). I took estrogen only for four days and was told to start pumping on the first day without pills. My doctor didn't sound too optimistic given my history. Basically, she kept reiterating that induced lactation is most successful for women who previously breastfed and/or women who have don't problems with ovulation. And women who have been on hormones for several months. Since none of those apply to me, she was basically "well, let's give it the best shot we can now." My approach to this was to give it a go, but also realize that the main benefit my son may be getting out of this is the bonding and not the actual milk. So with this attitude, Wednesday morning I got up early and hooked up the 'ole pump. That session was mostly a learning process since it was the first time I tried it out. Yes, it is odd. And it was particularly odd around noon when I was at work and hooked up the pump in my office. I have been wondering if I should leave my immediate work area, but I do have a private office and there is no other private place at my work (there is a designated pumping place, but it is a couch off to the side of a public bathroom, so not ideal). Anyway, I was there at work letting the pump do its thing while I tried to ignore it and focus on something else. And then I looked down and something was coming out! This was completely unexpected. I was not expecting anything at all for at least a week, if even then. Not the second time I pump. I don't think it was milk, though. After my initial excitement of seeing something, I realized it is brownish and not looking like breastmilk. It is only coming out one breast. Then I started wondering if this is some type of discharge? I have read conflicting reports about whether people who induce lactation produce colostrum, so maybe it is that. It doesn't seem like enough that I could save it. Only a drop or two. But it has come out each time I pumped since yesterday at noon. At my pumping this evening, it started coming out of my other breast, too. So I'm not sure what to make of this. Is it a good sign that this will work? Or just some discharge that doesn't mean breast milk will be coming?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Prayers (tentatively) answered

Today we finally heard back from the social worker who was contacting the birthfather. He has agreed to sign the consent! She said the conversation went as well as it could and they set up a time to meet to go over the consent document and have him sign it. That was a big relief to hear. I started taking estrogen to induce lactation. The protocol is not what I was expecting after doing some internet research, but my doctor went over it several times with a lactation counselor here. My lovely friend gave me a pump and I just need to get the parts that you wouldn't want to share with someone else and am due to start pumping in a few days. I sent a bunch of documents to the lawyer today, so it has been quite a full day for us! And then I came home to a Valentine box from my mom which included a few things she's been keeping around forever and some new clothes.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Thanks to all for your prayers. The social worker has not heard back from the birthfather, so we are still waiting. Last night we went to a group discussion at our church and the leader chose an opening prayer by the saint we plan to name our son after, so I took that as a good sign. Today we took on the other really fun task of putting together our will. We did hear from the birthmother again and the doctors were concerned at her most recent appointment about the baby gaining weight. So please keep him in your thoughts as well. I've been busy at work trying to get everything wrapped up. I have a week-long work trip coming up, so my remaining time in the office is shrinking quickly!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prayers and nursery

First, please send any prayers and positive thoughts our way! We are making attempts now at consenting the birthfather, so I am praying that things go smoothly. I think it will, but of course this is a big step.

In other news, we've made great progress on our nursery. First, let me share a before picture of a dresser. This dresser belonged to E when he was little and he took it as he moved into his own place. Last year, we bought new furniture for our bedroom and I was so glad to see this dresser out of there. We didn't get rid of it then, though, mostly because we were too lazy to dump it. His parents are quite fond of this dresser. I've always hated it. The drawers were always broken and even when they weren't broken, they were hard to slide in and out. The finish was bad and the handles on the drawers were ugly. I was glad to see it go. Here is how it looked as it was stored upstairs. As you can see, the top drawer was broken completely.

And then one day I was upstairs with a friend and we were talking about how much I hated the dresser. And a thought occurred to me. What if we took out the drawers altogether? It did have a nice border around the top that makes it seem like a changing table. If it wasn't for the drawers, maybe we could salvage it.

So we took the drawers out and figured out a plan to create a solid base for each drawer space. Basically, we bought some plywood and fit one piece on each side of the drawer glide that was in the middle. Then we sanded down the old finish and did a new coat of stain that matched the dresser we refinished. And here is our final product:

Beautiful! It really turned out well. We just need to get a changing pad to go on top and a few more baskets to put on the shelves. But I really like it now. Of course, I don't like the gloating my ILs are doing about this. But to be fair, this is an antique piece of furniture that is getting a new life. And it is nice that our son will use the same furniture that his dad used.

As you can see from the "after" picture, we also painted the nursery. I really like this green color. We bought a tree mural that will go on the wall above the crib. I would like feedback on what to do about one piece of the nursery. You might not be able to tell from the "after" picture, but the walls and ceilings in this room are not normal. The upstairs used to be an attic, so the ceiling is a few feet narrower than the room and so there is a slanted wall that joins the ceiling to the vertical wall. Here is another picture that shows what I am talking about (and the color here is actually more what the room looks like than the one above).

We are wondering about what to do with this section. Should we treat it more like a wall or more like a ceiling? The tree mural will probably extend onto the slanted piece about 10 inches or so. I was thinking of painting this section a lighter shade of the green that is on the walls to serve as a transition to the white ceiling. What do you think?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

IVF, Adoption, and Pro-family politics

I am going to wade into some controversial topics, so I hope I can do so without rubbing people the wrong way. I simply ask that you read me through to the end and don't jump to being defensive because it seems I am judging you. I hope that in reading how I am struggling with these issues, you can see that I agree with you on some parts and see how difficult these issues are. I've been thinking a great deal issues of pro-choice politics, contraception, adoption, adoption by same sex couples, infertility treatments, etc. The Komen decision has gotten me and everyone else talking about women's health and family planning. And I had a recent conversation with a group in my church about how Catholics should vote. That has also got me thinking deeply about these issues. My understanding of the Catholic Church's position is that since no politician perfectly matches all Catholic teachings, we have to weigh the good and the bad and inform our conscience about what to do. But still there are issue where it is not that I come to a different conclusion from the church after weighing these things, but that there are some single issues where I disagree with the official church position. And that has got me thinking about what is behind my opinion on these issues. So I want to try to lay out my thoughts.

And let me lay out one thing in advance. I will use the terms pro-choice and pro-life because those are the terms that are out there. But I don't like them as it implies that some people are against life.

I've always been pro-choice. As my husband E once said in reference to my very liberal family, "it would have been hard not to be pro-choice growing up in your family." And truth be told, I was always pro-choice in the "no one is going to tell me what to do with my body" frame of mind. I never really thought about when life began or what the status of an embryo was. In short, I had opinions about these things, but they were not really well thought out beliefs, more of a reaction than anything else.

And so I went along in my life, not really putting too much thought into what an embryo was. Until we were faced with infertility. And then suddenly, this issue became much more important to me. And as E and I discussed our treatment options, we had to figure out what exactly an embryo was. And what it meant to create them in petri dishes and store them for long periods of time or turn them into science experiments. Ultimately, we decided that we could not move forward with IVF for a number of reasons, but one of them was because we did think an embryo as a form of human life. These little groups of cells, whether they were transferred into my uterus or left to freeze, could potentially be our children. And it just didn't seem right to mess around with them in a lab.

And so, it made me question my pro-choice bona fides. I mean, if I was to recognize that these embryos as our potential children, shouldn't I change my mind on a host of other issues having to do with embryos? I entered a period of self-doubt. Was I really pro-life? Or at least less pro-choice than I thought I was?

Now that we are in the adoption journey, I get comments about how wonderful adoption is. I hear people praise adoption as the common ground that pro-choice and pro-life people can find. Isn't it great, they say, that women can choose adoption instead of abortion? I get comments that assume I am pro-life because we are adopting. Shouldn't I want more people to choose adoption over abortion? Yes, of course I do.

But ironically, it has been the process of getting deeper into the adoption community that has reinforced my pro-choice beliefs that flew into doubt with our IF journey. Let me be clear. I don't want abortion to happen. But adoption is not all sunshine and roses, either. The first thing social workers will tell you as you explore adoption is that all adoptions begin with a loss.

And here we get back to the issue of Catholic and politics and trying to weigh various moral issues as a group. There has been an increasing connection between the anti-abortion, anti-contraception, and anti-same sex adoption/marriage crowd. In all the criticism about Komen's decision about Planned Parenthood (and it should be noted that their apology was not really a reversal of their decision), people have highlighted that only 3% of PP services are abortions. While that is true, playing it up overlooks the fact that the pro-life community doesn't like their contraception/STD testing services either. And the same groups that oppose abortion and contraception are also fighting against policies like those in Illinois that require adoption agencies to work with same sex couples. And while probably less so, many are also fighting safety net programs like food stamps, welfare, worker's rights, and health care.

And this is where I've been pushed back into the pro-choice camp as I learn more about what is actually involved in adoption. As I heard about potential situations, I couldn't help but think to myself, somebody get these women on some birth control. There are women who are in no place to raise a child, but yet are having sex and getting pregnant. And we want to tell them that their choices are to parent the child and spend their lives struggling or make an adoption plan and walk around with a piece of their heart missing. And the implications of that choice for the child is to grow up in an environment where the cards are stacked against them from the beginning, or experience the loss that comes with adoption. So, I am very much in favor of expanding access to contraception so that this type of choice doesn't have to be made.

I am at a place now where in a month I will likely say that adoption is the best thing that ever happened to me because it will bring me my son. But it also breaks my heart to know that there are women, such as our birthmother, who see so little hope in their future that the only way for their son to have a shot at a good life is to have someone else raise him. So, I actually want to see fewer adoptions happen if that means that as a society we actually decide to honor life once it is born and give people access to services they desperately need to be able to raise children.

Another way that going through adoption has made me disagree with the Catholic church is about adoption by same sex couples. I've interacted with different types of agencies and think the approach of places like Catholic Charities (at least the one near me) that believe they serve the pregnant woman facing a crisis is better than crisis pregnancy centers that tend to look down on women more for finding themselves in that situation and think of the adoptive parents as the people they serve. Part of it has to do with knowing that adoption is not all sunshine and roses and so I don't necessarily think there should be MORE adoptions. I think they should be done differently. And part of it is that I think pregnant in a tough situation are ill-served by organizations that won't offer you any help once you indicate you don't want to make an adoption plan and are past the point of abortion. So if the Catholic church gets out of the adoption game as they are threatening to do in places like Illinois over adoption by same sex couples, then women in crisis will be be the ones to suffer (not to mention the children they are carrying).

And thinking of those children, I just can't see why we would deny children a loving and stable home if someone is willing to provide it. I mean, there is certainly more than enough heterosexual couples wanting to adopt a healthy White infant. But for other types of children? I am not judging people who had to make certain decisions about the types of situations they will be open to; we've turned down some ourselves. But it's hard for me to see how it is preferable to let older kids or kids with severe health, behavioral, or developmental problems to take their chances in foster care than let them find a forever family just because the parents are of the same gender. There are some wonderful foster families out there, but the system also lets many fall through the cracks and our goal should be to find forever families for these children.

Anyway, I hope I haven't totally offended anyone. These are just some of the thoughts I have swirling around in my head now.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Who to push?

I am trying not to put too many details of our situation on here to protect our son's privacy. But there is one thing I would like feedback on. We have a named birthfather. He is not denying that he is the father. He is, shall we say, difficult. According to our lawyer, the adoption decree won't affect parental rights of anyone other than the three we get consents from (there is also a legal father who everyone acknowledges is not the biological father). So, should anyone turn up at a later date, that could cause some problems. It's not that we don't trust the birthmother is telling the truth, but we obviously don't want something nagging us down the road.

Our lawyer has advised that we either confirm paternity through a DNA test, which requires the birthfather's cooperation, or go the public reporting route. This would be similar to what happens in the case of unknown birthfathers where you post notices in local newspapers saying "hey, if you had sex with this woman around this time in this area, there is an adoption happening." Or something like that. I don't know the actual wording of these notices, but it does involve publicizing the name of the birthmother in her local papers.

I don't want to cause the birthmother any more pain than she is already going through and so adding this embarrassment for her is not something I want to do. On the other hand, it's not clear at all that the birthfather would go along with a paternity test. He is difficult enough without making him question whether he is actually the father. And that in itself can cause problems for the birthmother if he starts questioning her. What would you do?
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