The Beginning of the End…

It’s been a little less than one month since I had my hysterectomy where the surgeon intended to take only my uterus. Instead, he was forced to take my uterus, cervix, right ovary and Fallopian tube. Needless to say when I woke up and gained consciousness, I was a little taken aback by all that needed to be removed due to my endometriosis. According to my surgeon (no one else saw it), my right ovary was “indiscernible”; no one understood my pain or took the time to understand it. No one except this man. This wonderful man whose bedside manner is something to be commended. He reassured me and hugged me more times than I could have ever imagined. His staff was caring and compassionate and to put the cherry on the sundae that was this experience, he sent me roses during my recovery.

I’m blessed to have had such a great support team, from the doctors and nurses at Mercy Medical Center who took such good care of me and tended to me overnight, to my husband and my mom who never left my side for three weeks during and after surgery. My husband even slept on those awful hospital couches just to be with me. I’m one lucky lady. My mom, who I can’t thank enough for taking three weeks off from her own job to be with me and take care of me, Steffan and our furry family. My school family who called, texted, sent flowers, cards, Meal Train dinners to help lighten our load and focus on healing and taking over my classes; you are all wonderful and I’m proud to call myself a Clipper. My in-laws who came to visit and bring dinner to cheer me up and visit. There are too many friends to list, but your gifts and time meant the world. Lastly to a woman who, despite her own medical issues, took time to think of me and my classes and won a contest and gave my kids the money. Twenty years of knowing this wonderful lady and not seeing her in almost ten, and she still thinks of me. I am lucky.

recovery.jpg

There is always a flip-side to the positives. This has not been an easy journey. Surgical pain sucks. Knowing my childbearing years are officially over sucks when all I see are baby announcements. I try to be happy, but it’s a challenge sometimes. I am truly grateful for the people who show empathy for what Steffan and I have dealt with in regards to our infertility; you are our family. Therapy is helping. I’m learning techniques to keep from crying when it gets overwhelming; to put it into the words of Carrie Underwood, “This mountain is just a grain of sand.” Maybe mine isn’t that small, but I know this “mountain” is something I can climb over with time and support.

I’m learning to be kind to myself, which is incredibly difficult because I hold myself to such a high standard that when I am not perfect, I feel like I have failed. Kindness takes a LOT of breathing and patience, but I will get better at it.

Honestly, the hard part comes now. Surgery is over. Healing is underway. It’s time to take on the biggest journey of our lives and we’re ready. We’ve been ready. I know, because I’m nesting the heck out of my home, despite the chagrin of my hubs. Let the adoption process begin! We’re giving ourselves until June to reunite as husband and wife and grow in our love again and heal from this monstrous minefield.( “Dancing in the Minefields”by Andrew Peterson)

We can’t wait to have a child of our own; someone to dress and play with and spoil with love. Our turn is here. Our wedding song talked about “the beginning of the end starts with the words ‘I do'”. Well here is another beginning of the end, and this one is just as wonderful as our first one nearly four years ago. So here we go, time to get ready for another glorious minefield!

If anyone has suggestions for agencies or adoption lawyers, please leave your comments below! Thanks!

~Trenae

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It’s Time to be Dealt a Good Hand Now

It’s 4:32 am as I sit alone in my bed and write this. This is my new sleep schedule. Go to bed at whatever time, be it 8 pm or 12 am and wake up somewhere between 3 and 4 am.

I’m a little over one week post-op and to say it’s been hard has been an understatement. I was doing great at the beginning; sitting downstairs with my family; and I even walked to get the mail, which is a huge accomplishment two days post surgery if you have A – been through this or B – seen my driveway.

After about day 4 is when things started to go downhill. I couldn’t do as much and I started to feel like a burden to my husband and my mom. They were doing everything; when you can’t lift more than 5 pounds, it’s excruciating painful because that’s less than my purse. They basically had to help me get dressed, make me food, help me into and out of bed and take care of my babies…my dogs. One who is now going through IVDD treatments because he hurt his spine and I can barely touch him, let alone hold him and it’s killing me inside.

I’m sorry if this is a rant, but I’m sleep deprived and a very independent woman. To not be able to put on my own socks is mortifying, but I know it’s in the best interest of my healing. I am crying a little right now as I write this because it’s so painful…that and coughing / sneezing.

My poor husband has been a rock through all of this and he’s starting to show signs of hairline cracks and I know it’s because of me. That alone is making me feel guilty. Not to mention the fact that now it is permanent: no baby. The uterus, ovary, Fallopian tubes, and cervix made sure of that. I helped it by falling three days ago and took a lovely trip to the ER where nothing was done…literally, not even an IV or any monitor when I got there. You go hospital*. You go.

*Not the same one as the surgery.

The finality of it all is setting in and it’s starting to break me down. I hear stories from women about how sorry they are for me; they had this two, but luckily they had a kid or two before…please, if you read this, comment about being in my situation: I have none. Zip, zero, zilch. No one yet to call me mommy, to draw me a picture or make me something god-awful in art class out of macaroni. My mom still has everything I ever made.

I guess my ex was right: I’m not a good “breeder”, nor will I ever be, but thank goodness I found someone who actually loves me for good times and in bad, sickness and in health. I got lucky that way.

Therapy is helping. Meditation is helping. But is it too much to ask that I be allowed to heal physically and mentally? Because this is harder than I ever imagined. I know my family, friends and colleagues are on my side and I appreciate that so much. But this is a solitary process if you don’t know what it’s like. I got a phone call from my first boyfriend’s mom, a woman I’ve known almost 20 years now, and she thought of me when she won a contest. She emailed my husband after surgery. She is a wonderful woman; compassionate and thoughtful. She made me smile and gave me the courage to keep fighting without being ostentatious. Thank you friend.

I think over the last 4 years I’ve been dealt my fair share of crappy cards. Can I please be dealt a good hand? I’m ready for the next steps…mine and tiny little ones that cause massive amounts of destruction, chaos and cuteness….and for once, ones without four feet.

Tug of War

To say that it has been a long time since we have written is an understatement. We have had so much on our plate it hasn’t only been difficult to find time to sit down and gather our thoughts but we haven’t even been making dinner. I think in the past month I’ve maybe cooked like twice. For those of you that know me know that this isn’t ordinary considering cooking is a strong passion of mine. Let’s pick up where I believe we left off….

We were in Annapolis finding out answers for my beautiful wife as she had been suffering for almost six months. Well She was finally placed in the right hands or shall I say back in the right hands of our current surgeon. He previously did a surgery for Trenae years ago that provided her with relief for quite some time until her endometriosis had progressed. For the past two years my wife has been made to believe it was “all in her head” by several very respectful doctors because they couldn’t see the issue on your run of the mill tests. Blood work showed nothing, CT showed nothing, and internal sonograms showed nothing. It wasn’t until this past week that we truly found out what was wrong. Now granted as Rumpelstiltskin says everything comes with a price and for us it was the price of my wifes uterus, Fallopian tubes and her right ovary. I will not say it came at the price of us having children because that is simply not true and a very negative way to think of things. This price was one My wife and I were willing to pay and had I known this is where we would be today I would have encouraged her to have this done years ago. What was found during the surgery was that after two different doctors told her she didn’t have endometriosis our surgeon said her right ovary was covered in it and removed it with her request. Every other month for as long as I can remember my wife would have excruciating pain associated with her menses and on December 27th we found out why.

For months I have watched my wife fade as a lighter version of the woman I fell in love with because of this awful health condition. She became more anxious than ever, angry about many different things, and just over all very sad. Honestly who could blame her. I can’t say with an honest voice I would have handled it anywhere near as well as she has. She is one of the strongest people I know. But when I tell you what happened simply two hours out of surgery I knew we made the right decision even in spite of all the anxiety the build up of the surgey caused. My mother in law and I went back to see my wife. Now at this point she was in the recovery room lined up with multiple other patients in recovery. When you walk in you get hit with a very distinct smell that i associate with hospitals. One that doesn’t bring back memories that i enjoy. In fact at one point I had to step away from my wife because I felt like i was going to get sick. But I digress what happened when I saw her is I saw her again. She had that sparkle back in her eyes. The one I hadn’t seen in months and possibly a year. Two hours after surgery she had humor back and was making jokes about her surgery. As dumb as it sounds I walked away not only because I was nauseated from the familiar smell but because I was choked up. I had my wife back. I always knew she was still in there and I would get glimmers of her from time to time but this was the real deal.

One day after surgery she was up walking and laughing again, and while she was in surgical pain, the pain that she lived with in her heart had gone away. Now I am not going to sit here and say it will never come back but this surgery provided us with closure. It allowed us to let go of control and realize that sometimes we don’t get to make all the decisions. It allowed us to set our sights on what it is we have been yearning for these past four years and that’s to be parents. I’m not saying it will happen tomorrow or that adopting is going to be a piece of cake either but what i am saying is that we will have a child and they will be ours forever. If you’ve read my past posts you’ve heard me talk about  riding on a rollercoaster that never stops. Well I can finally say it has stopped for us and we are buying new tickets on our ride that has an end and its one that leads to becoming a family of three.

Trenae was discharged the day after her hysterectomy and we headed back home. Now before we went up to surgery our beloved long-haired mini dachshund had injured his back. He seemed like he was improving the couple of days we were home, but then we get back and his back legs weren’t working very well. In fact they were dragging at certain points. Is this where I began to feel very overwhelmed. I had my wife who was recovering and now my dog who we are thinking is paralyzed in the back legs. I called our breeder to find out what she suggested to do, and she gave me the contact info of this amazing veterinarian that does physical therapy, acupuncture and multiple other modes of therapy. I called and made an appointment right away and we were to be seen two hours after I hung up. We go in and this place is like the Ritz of vet offices. I mean not a speck of dust or dog hair on the floors. They take Walter and I back and assess him and determine that it is either a bulging disc or herniated disc. She suggests two options one is surgery and the other is a culmination of different therapies. She goes over the pros and cons of both and makes some calls to get me an estimate of what the surgery will cost. Now keep in mind we are a day of being home when all of this is occurring. So you can imagine the level of stress in our  household because our dogs are our children. She comes back and says Mr. Webster the estimate for surgery is going to be between 12 and 15 thousand dollars for Walter and they can take him today. Now my first thought was how can I make this happen because my wife and I love this little dog with all our hearts, and then my second is how the hell are we going to afford this when trying to adopt and everything else that has hit us in 2016. She suggested calling our breeder and seeing what she would recommend. She recommended the multiple therapy route. So Walter has been “lasered” and given a gamete of meds and he is walking again. He will be crated for weeks possibly months to regain his strength and allow his disc to move back into place.

I literally do not know how we would be standing without my mother in law here helping us or our friends that have brought us food and visited with my wife and I. I am in this strange tug of war right now with a sense of relief but also a sense of being very overwhelmed. In the end it will all work out however it is supposed to but I would love nothing more just to be able to enjoy my wifes recovery with her and to have our little Walter snuggled up next to us in bed again. Only time will tell whats in store but for now I must go to bed because tomorrow is a big day for me….. I turn 30. It’s insane to think I am that young and have experienced all these different things in life already. Good night all and stay tuned for whats up for us next…

-Steffan

When its more than just a movie…

Quite a bit of time has passed since I wrote our last blog. Maybe its because we have been going through the grieving process, maybe its because we keep hoping that we will wake up from this dream/nightmare or maybe its because we just couldn’t put our thoughts into words. Regardless what the reason was I felt like the only sane thing I could do the night before not only a huge day for our country but also for my wife and I, I needed to write perhaps to distract myself from the political posts from Facebook and possibly for a little therapy … just a smidge to prepare for our appointments tomorrow.

There  have been times in the last couple of weeks since our news dropped that I haven’t been a good husband. Its not because I haven’t tried its not because I stopped loving my wife its because life happened. We don’t always get to choose the paths we are put on no matter how hard we fight or like to control where we end up. Sometimes your just dropped there and don’t always land on your feet( in our case I think we landed on our heads). I have watched my wife agonize in pain both emotionally and physically in the last couple months and felt like I could do nothing to make it better for her. I tried telling her its going to be alright our plan was always to adopt so don’t be upset. I tried holding her,  I tried protecting her and fighting for her care. I felt like I did everything in my power to make it better but It still wasn’t. This began to anger me that I couldn’t fix it because that’s who I am. I inherited that trait from my Dad. Like him it pains me to see someone I love so much struggling with the path she is in at this moment in time. It wasn’t until this past week that I realized I haven’t been a good husband to my wife.

We use Netflix like pretty much all of America and love our Netflix DVD. I always go through the queue with Trenae and add movies together. It was a few weeks ago that I added a movie called “Miracles From Heaven.” I thought it looked decent so I put it in the line up. The movie arrived sometime last week and just sat on our counter for a while. That doesn’t typically happen. We get a movie and watch it instantly because we’ve been anxiously awaiting its arrival. Not this one.. It sat there until Sunday morning after we did our usual routine of drinking our coffee and talking about what our Sunday plans are going to be. I suggested the movie and Trenae said ok even though I could tell she didn’t want to watch it. Before I go into to much detail about the movie I feel like I need to explain a little on who I am as a person. I am not religious. I know that hurts some people for me to say that but its who I am. Please respect that and don’t tell me I need to be it is who I am. I had faith as a child but throughout events in my life I don’t have a whole lot left in me. It doesn’t make me a bad person and there are moments when I believe but for the majority of my adult life I haven’t. With everything we have been through can you honestly blame me? It has always upset me when people say well maybe you have sinned and that’s why this is happening to you and your wife or have you tried praying. These are just the tip of the iceberg of what people have said to us and tried to preach. We are on our own journey and struggle everyday and its for no one to tell me how to get through it because you haven’t lived it. And if you have then you know where I am

I say all of that  because this movie hit me so hard and I’ll explain why and how it all ties together I promise just stay with me.

This movie is about a little girl named Annabelle Beam. Annabelle is about 7 or 8 when she starts throwing up in the middle of the night and her parents think its the flu or stomach bug. They rush her to the doctors and are told its a bunch of different things; acid reflux, lactose intolerance etc.. Annabelle keeps getting worse and no one will help her get better. the doctors just do the regular scans they do with every patient and say the test say she’s fine and they have no answers. Immediately I feel like this story relates to us and I am drawn in. I know the feeling Christie Beam went through when she knew something wasn’t right and no one would listen to her or look beyond the papers in front of them and look at the little girl sitting there in pain pleading for help to be told she’s fine. I know that feeling all to well. Christie continues to fight for her little girl because she knew something wasn’t right  just like I keep fighting for my wife when everyone looks at me like I am crazy. It saddens me that an industry that I work in and love so very much has taken this turn where its no longer about the patient its about the paycheck and reimbursement. I sit here watching this movie much like I’ve done on appointments with my wife contemplating going back to med school just to show people that there are still doctors that care. Christie finally takes Annabelle to the ER one last time and loses it on the doctor much like I have done before not because it was my intention but sometimes you have no choice. Finally she is heard they get her in the right hands to find her daughter, her precious little girl has a disorder that twits her bowels and makes the nerves in her intestines non responsive. Basically her body is rejecting food. There is a specialist in Boston that tries to help Christie and Annabelle but even with all his efforts nothing works. Christie is in church praying every Sunday that her precious daughter is healed and can live a normal life but much like myself she gave up along the way and lost faith. The tipping point for her was very familiar to what I have experienced when a group came up to her and asked if her and her husband had considered they were being punished by god for sins they hadn’t asked forgiveness for. She stormed out of the church and told her husband she will never go back there. they go back and forth to Boston multiple times until Annabelle pleads with her mother to please let her go home and stop the pain she’s ready to die. Christie agrees and they fly home. I’ll stop here..

I am not trying to say what my wife is going through is as terrible as Annabelle in any sense but I found it so relatable because she has had to fight for someone she loves to get the best quality care there is. I also have experienced what she has in terms of losing faith, and have turned into an angry bitter person. Even towards the people I care about the most even the woman who is going through all this pain… My wife.

Annabelle comes back to the family farm and is sitting on the front porch watching her sisters play when her older sister asks her to play soccer or climb a tree. They climb and climb until they are pretty high up and at this moment you can see the pure joy on Annabelle’s face because for a small moment in time she feels like a normal kid. the branch cracks and her sister tells her to climb into a knot in the tree for safety. She climbs in and the tree is so hollow she falls down inside the tree quite some distance and hits her head. she is unresponsive. Finally they pull her out she’s rushed to the hospital and she makes it. When Annabelle fell it did something to reset her brain to make the nerves in her intestines work again and “cured” her for lack of better words. It flashes back through the movie and shows you all sorts of “miracles” that happened through out that you don’t even realize because you’re so focused on the tragedy in front of you.

The movie ends and being the giant sap I am I sit there crying for a little while because this story seems so familiar to me. I saw my wife in that little girl. Sitting on the cold paper dangling her feet off the doctors chair waiting for someone to tell her what it is. Crying herself to sleep at night because the pain medication doesn’t touch what she feels. Wishing that I understood what she was going through but knowing I never truly will. every time I looked at Annabelle I saw Trenae. It’s because of this movie I realized I haven’t been a good husband to my wife. Any men out there reading this I hope you really take a moment and think about what I’m saying and ask yourself if you’ve been the husband your wife deserves. I haven’t been a good husband to my wife because rather than fixing everything she’s going through or explaining why she shouldn’t be upset I never thought about her the person in front of me and what that would feel like. I never took a step back and recognized the magnitude of the path we have been dropped on unwillingly. I wasn’t there for my wife like she needed me to be and this movie made me realize that.

I walked over to Trenae after what I thought was pulling myself together until the tears start falling down my face again and grab her hands. I look into her eyes that were once a bright blue and now just appear a sad grey and I tell her sobbing I am so sorry. I am sorry I haven’t been what you needed and I am sorry that I will never understand what you are experiencing in this moment. I haven’t been a good husband to my wife and I admit it but I also am not the kind of man to just say that its ok. I recognize where I went wrong and I am trying to fix it because I love my wife more than anything, but it is easy to get caught up in life when you have been beaten around a lot. I held my wife that afternoon for maybe twenty minutes and told her we will get through this together and that I love her. I owe so much to Annabelle Beam and her family for sharing their story and allowing it to be made into a movie because I say this honestly if they didn’t I don’t know that I would have ever realized how my wife felt or what was needed of me. So I end in saying this Thank you to the Beam family and to the men out there don’t be afraid to show your emotions and be the man your wife deserves.

A Tale of Two Fears…Well Maybe a Few More…

It’s 12:30 AM and I’ve been up for about an hour now, tossing and turning. You see, officially today, since the clock has passed midnight, Steffan and I have our multitude of doctors appointments to figure out 1. my medical conditions as my pain has only gotten worse since an oblation surgery I had in August to which my surgeon has no reasoning for, and 2. our plan with possibly moving forward with the implantation of a gifted embryo if I’m healthy enough to carry it.

Since school started this year, I’ve been dealing with pain every day. I’m doing my best to manage it, but even two “post-op” surgical appointments and a trip to the ER haven’t given me any relief. I’ve stopped eating dinner, because I can’t keep it down, and I got to the point yesterday where I text my husband in the middle of the day (10:30 AM) because I didn’t even go to lunch because I sat down from the pain and couldn’t get up again; I was afraid I was going to have to leave school. At 11, I put my happy face back on for my kids, but inside, I was dying.

Currently I’m sitting in my living room, heating pad on, surrounded by my two “large and in charge” furry protectors…both of whom are sound asleep and snoring. Jerks. The mini-furry protector is sound asleep upstairs…probably asleep on my side of the bed…again, jerk.

All I can say is, God love my husband. While I was at school yesterday, about to fall down, he was feverishly doing research on the specialist I am to see tomorrow, the possibilities of my disease and what it may actually be instead. For years, I’ve been treated for endometriosis, a disease that typically affects the ovaries, causes pain and often infertility…all things I’ve gone through since before college (call my mom, she can tell you). I’ve had surgery for this three times since college and yet, no relief. I go through stages where I’m ready to just throw in the towel and give up. After my first surgery (right after college), I was engaged to a very different man, who told me “I just wasn’t a good breeder”. Needless to say that didn’t work out. And thank God, otherwise I would have never met the man who continuously fights for me day in and day out. Steffan is the one who has done the research on not endometriosis, but something called adenomyosis. It’s similar to endo, but much more difficult to find unless you are specialized in looking for it; it isn’t even listed on Women’sHealth.gov — go figure. But don’t worry, anorexia and acne are…because that’s what we suffer from. Right ladies? He looked at the symptoms and he looked at me and the two matched more fittingly.

I guess what I’m trying to say in my tired, yet insomniatic state, is that I’m so happy to have someone in my corner who will fight for me when I’m afraid and ready to give up. It’s hard to fight when your tired and in pain. It’s also hard to fight when everyone you’ve asked for help, can’t give you any answers. On one hand, I’m hoping tomorrow I get an answer because then I’ll finally be able to get the right treatment. On the other hand, I’m scared I’ll be let down again by yet another doctor who still doesn’t know what’s wrong or where this pain is coming from. I know they call it “practicing” medicine, but could I stop being the pin cushion for a little while? It’s sucks when you can’t sneeze, cough, twist, or do other daily activities, like, I don’t know, teach your students, without wanting to double over in pain. I’m 32 and I just want to be healthy.

And to put this blog to bed…hopefully metaphorically and literally, there’s the embryo in the mix. That appointment is tomorrow too, as if one doctor a day isn’t enough…the what if game is spinning through my head at a whirlwind pace. What if he says I can’t carry because of these conditions? What if I’ve missed my window to carry a child? I go back and forth with these questions; tell myself I’m okay if that’s the case, then fall apart because I can’t do what comes so easily to others.

Forgive me if this is a sappy post. I’m really nervous. We have to be in Annapolis in seven hours and I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep a wink tonight. Guess it’s Netflix for me tonight…and time to turn the heating pad up to full blast. G’night y’all. Wish us luck.

~Trenae

 

We are Getting Twins??

I have always been a very intuitive person. Almost like it’s a sixth sense. When I was younger I would have dreams and see things and a lot of times they would happen. I know I know I sound crazy but you can ask my wife about just how many times it has happened.

For as long as I can remember I have had a reoccurring dream that I would someday be a father of twins. Strange I know most people hear about women dreaming about their wedding day or the day of the proposal but never a man dreaming of being a dad. Especially not dreaming about twins as young as sophomore year in college. When Trenae and I met the dreams occurred a lot more frequently. I knew for sure it was my intuition acting up again telling me that someday we will have twins. I always told her about this and what they looked like. A boy and a girl; The boy had my skin color and his mothers eyes and took the trait of both of us with dark chestnut brown hair. The girl ringlet curls with the same dark chestnut brown hair and piercing green eyes that looked so much like mine. Most people don’t dream in color but for some reason I always have. I always remember what my dreams are about and how vivid the colors are. This dream always made my heart warm because it told me there was still hope that we would have our family some day.

It wasn’t until we started going through all the fertility stuff that it dawned on me just how likely this “dream” may become a reality. One that scared me but excited me at the same time. Before we found out IVF wasn’t in the cards for us Trenae and I talked about how many embryos we would implant if given the opportunity. We both agreed two was a good number because it increased our likelihood of one of them taking and also gave us a 50/50 chance at twins. I could picture how ours lives would end up with these two precious little gifts. They would both play soccer before they ever truly understood what they were doing. Running around the field looking like a herd of cows chasing after the ball while I chased after them telling them where to go and Trenae cheered them on from the side lines. I saw them learning how to swim before they could walk, you know the good old fashion way that I learned; throwing them in while you wait to catch them. I had our whole lives planned out and it seemed so close I could almost touch it until my fingers graze the dream and it disappears into the sky. Once we found out IVF wasn’t going to happen for us the dreams slowly stopped happening. They faded until I didn’t have dreams about kids at all anymore for a couple of months.

One of the ways I cope with my new found reality of infertility is talking to people about it. For some reason this is therapeutic for me to tell my story. It gives me a sense of support that sometimes I feel I do not have. Being that I work in doctors offices on a regular basis the ones that I am close with will ask me the question; “When are you having kids?” I chose to open up to some of them and tell our “situation” and almost always they are very supportive and some ask lots of questions. The questions don’t bother me so much as when I hear well you’re just overthinking it or guess it’s not meant to be. This rarely happens though. One particular time I opened up to one of my favorite Nurse practitioners at lunch. She asked me how married life was treating me and if we had found a new house yet to which I replied married life is amazing and yes we have found one they accepted our offer. She already knew the reason we were buying a larger home, and not just because we would need the space if we welcomed a little one or two into our lives. She knew that we were buying a new house because once we started the home study process we would be stuck in our house that we had already outgrown. We would lose all the blood, sweat, tears, and not to mention money that we had invested for nothing. She then asked me about where we are in the adoption process and told me that she’s always keeping her ears open if she comes across someone in a situation where they are looking to put their child up for a adoption. I thanked her for always checking on me and didn’t think anything else of it.

Weeks later this same Nurse Practitioner says to me I need to talk to you. She said it in such a manner that I thought something had happened to a patient on the medication I sell or I offended her in some way. She pulled me into the lunch room and said I have something to tell you… I have a patient that is pregnant with twins. My first thought was well that’s great for her why are you telling me this. Until I remember our previous conversation just weeks before. She says The young girl has already said she cant take care of the two little girls when she has them. I am trying to hold it together at this point and not get my hopes up. She then asks me if we have moved into the new house yet and I told her it doesn’t happen for a couple more weeks. I tell her how perfect it would be for the stars to align like this and how we have a room already designated for a future nursery and there’s a beautiful playhouse in the backyard. She then asks me what I have been waiting to hear for a long time, “would you be willing to adopt them?” Without a doubt I said yes but I would need to check with my wife first. Keep in mind this is already an extremely stressful time. We are buying a new house (of which the process was made extremely difficult by the sellers), selling our current home and settling all within hours of one another. I knew bringing the girls into the picture would create more stress but it was a good stress. The kind of stress we had yearned for, for quite some time. I run home and tell Trenae the news and of course she is on board. I tell her not to get her hopes up even though both of ours were at this point. We finally felt like everything was coming together. She secretly was pinning things on pinterestg for the nursery we would be creating as soon as we moved in. I was thinking about names for our little girls. We were both so touched that this nurse practitioner thought of us to be their parents.

The weeks up to settlement on our new house flew by but not without a lot of bumps in the road. When buying a house you always expect something to pop up because that’s just how it goes, but we couldn’t have planned or prepared ourselves for the bump we were about to experience. I go into the office where the nurse practitioner works and she pulls me aside again. I am thinking I’m getting an update on the twins, and I was just the not one I wanted. She tells me I have some news, “the girl has decided to give the twins to her cousin. I tried to talk her out of it as the cousin already has nine children and she’s pregnant with the tenth. she’s unemployed and she can’t even take care of herself, but the girl wanted to keep the twins in the family. I am so sorry Steffan.”

I walked away trying to hold it together. I knew there was a chance of this but I truly thought this was going to be it for us. It was finally going to work out. We were two days away from settlement and this was the good news that we had waited for. Again I was wrong. I remember feeling complete sadness and dread to make the phone call and tell my wife. I knew she had been so excited about having two little girls. She was devastated, we both were. It all happened so quickly. I was hoping I would wake up from this nightmare but I didn’t. The twins were gone, our dream was gone. We were now an infertile couple living in a house with empty rooms and a playhouse with no one to play in it……

Steffan

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Anxiety Goes A Long Way

Guilt and failure. These are both two emotions that I struggle with on a daily basis. They often lead to major cases of anxiety, which are often self-induced. If I were to tell you today, I currently take 10 pills to manage my anxiety from my fear of failure and sometimes my guilt of living. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to harm myself or anything (and some of them double as migraine medication), but I go through periods of time where my anxiety gets so high from just living my daily life; things like spending $5 on a coffee, planning a vacation, or buying a new home, that I can hardly breathe. That I get chest pains. That I get nauseated. It’s awful.

For a while, I tried to hide these emotions and it was amazing how quickly they boiled over into my work, my marriage and my family. I didn’t know how to be myself anymore, or even remember who she was. I tried talk therapy and got nowhere, so needless to say…and say without shame, I’m totally medicated and I’m okay with that.

Since the time Steffan and I told our family and close friends about our inability to have our own children, it’s been an emotional roller coaster. The support we get and the guilt we feel is never-ending. We struggle all of the time with this delicate balancing act of how to save the mega bucks it takes for adoption, and still trying to have the semblance of a life that is one that looks like we’re actually living.

If we spent anything extra we both felt guilty. We lived in a modest ranch house that we had been in for almost five years, and were busting out of the seams, and knew we needed more room. As we started to do our research into the plethora of adoption outlets, we learned a lot about the cost; one thing we learned was that any money invested into home studies, etc. is lost if you move at any point during the process. So hypothetically, if we invested $10,000 and then decided it would behoove us to live in a bigger, “family” home, we could stand to lose all of that money and have to start over from square one. That led to a major life call, one that I was excited and nervous about at the same time…buying a bigger house.

Despite the fact that we knew it was the smart decision in the long run: get the family house and then the family, we were nervous about how that order of events would go over with people. In all actuality, we were nervous about how it would go over with us, I mean, we REALLY wanted the family, so how could we justify spending the money on the house before the child? I guess it shouldn’t matter; it’s our money, but it all goes back to what I said at the beginning: guilt and failure.

For a while, we thought every spare dime we had, needed to go to an adoption fund. We are at the point in our lives (early 30s) where if we want something, we can go out and buy it. We don’t Christmas presents or birthday presents anymore. We asked our families to just donate money to an adoption fund that we set up separately from our regular checking or savings. It pained us to think that our family or friends, thought the money they gave us was spent on something else. It wasn’t. I feel like the world is silently judging my choices and it eats away at me. I know it’s all in my head. I know we have the support of our friends and family, but each day we get older, and the thing we want most gets a little further out of reach.

Support is key in this type of event. There have been situations where unknowingly, or not meaningfully, people have insinuated we’re selfish for taking a trip or buying something expensive. What people don’t realize is we work with a financial planner constantly to see what our best options are to make sure we save money and live life.

I guess what it all comes down to is this: please be understanding that every couple who wants to adopt, does so with the passion of a thousand burning suns in their hearts, but we all get to a point where, if that’s all we focused on, we would fall apart in the most gut-wrenching sense of the word. We do all we can to keep our sanity while we endure failed fertility treatments, pregnant friends and family, and the ungodly cost of saving.

And there is always something new around the corner to keep you on your toes. For Steffan and I, the house we bought came smack dab with a beautiful swing set, complete with two slides, a climbing wall, sand box, and two swings. It stares at me while I do the dishes or play with my dogs. We’ve talked about selling it and getting rid of the constant reminder that who knows how far out of reach this dream of ours is, but then again, maybe having it will be a motivating factor to work harder than ever to get what we want.

~Trenae