Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April Fool's Day

I believe I am the kind of person that can laugh at a joke. That being said, for the most part, I enjoy April Fool's Day.

A few years ago, I brought Brown-E's to work.

This year, I am bringing a big bowl of M&M's, Reese's Pieces, and Skittles.

But I also believe that some things simply aren't joking matters.

(Stepping onto soapbox..)

Pregnancy Announcements.

Here's the thing, I'm guilty of doing just that. Many, MANY years ago, before we realized we were infertile. This was before Facebook, but we thought it would be funny to tell some family members that "the rabbit died". Then we didn't correct them until later that day.

That is one of those times I wish I could go back and slap myself.

Here's the thing, pregnancy isn't a laughing matter, especially to those who are trying so hard to get pregnant. Some have been trying for years and YEARS. Others have been waiting on an adoption list for just as long. Or some have had to accept that parenthood will never happen for them and try to move on with life. To each of these couples, a pregnancy announcement is like a knife stab in the heart. (Please refer to my blog post about pregnancy announcements.)

So when we later find out it was just a "joke," it hurts even more. When you've been trying to get pregnant for years and years, its hard to understand how anyone could make light of such a serious matter.

A joke should be something that is funny for all, not something that is harmful to some. So please, keep it light and funny tomorrow and find something else to joke about. Most people don't share their infertility struggle, so you may not know just how many people may be hurt by a fake pregnancy announcement.

And if you don't have time to make Brown-E's, send them to Google Maps.

Monday, March 30, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Easter

Going back to school has cut into my aunt time. Easter is this weekend and I have yet to buy anything for my nephews. I am aware that most aunts don't buy or make a gift for every little holiday, but I usually do. It gives me joy. I also find it a great way to be part of a holiday that I would normally be forgotten on.

I'm double bummed because I missed Valentine's also. I did do something for St. Patrick's Day, but I still feel like I'm slacking. Granted, they are all still young enough that they probably don't even notice. But I do.

Luckily, I have Amazon Prime. All I need to do is decide what I want to order and it should be here in time. I'm thinking of maybe a slip 'n' slide for the older nephews and a small wading pool for the younger ones.

Its about spoiling the ones I love. And making sure I keep my position as best aunt ever.

You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Josh's grandpa passed away this weekend. Through it, I have learned that both he and I handle grief very differently from the most of the world. Each time we go through something hard, we just want to be in each others arms.

This realization started earlier last month when my brother was in the hospital. I tried to be there with my family, but really, I just wanted to be alone with my husband. He is my safe place. In his arms, I could cry.

Its been the same way the past few days. I kept telling him it was okay to go be with his family. He told me that I was all he needed.

Maybe its because of our infertility struggle that we seek comfort only from each other. At first, when we were trying to get pregnant, we kept that to ourselves. We didn't open up about our struggles to anyone, not even family. Through that, we learned to lean on and support each other.

Then, when we were unchosen, each other was all we had. I think because of that, we have created our own grief bubble. Infertility has been a rocky journey, but I'm so grateful that I had Josh by my side through all of it. It has brought us closer.

His grandparents were amazing people. I'm glad they are together again. Eight years ago, when grandma passed away, I was devastated she would never get to hold my children. It felt like I was mourning more than just her death, but also, the loss of what could have been.

The grief process has been very different for me with grandpa. It has been easier to focus on the happy memories. I don't feel like the world is going to end because he didn't get to hold my babies.

Its also served as a great reminder that Josh is all I have. When I think about grandma and grandpa, I think about how much they loved each other, even after 67 years. I hope that will be us someday.

Monday, March 16, 2015

#MicroblogMonday's: What the...

I realize that kids are kids, but I think parents need to be parents.

Last week, I had a little girl (about age 2) chew on my desk. Chew.On.My.Desk!!!! She literally walked up to the edge of my desk and latched on with her teeth and started chewing.

I was horrified! Who does that?! What did the parents do? Nothing!

I know I don't know how to raise a kid, but seriously, it would seem logical that if your kids starts chewing on something in a public setting, you would at least tell them to stop.

I just bit my tongue and hurried up their paperwork so I could get them out of my office quickly. When they were gone, I thoroughly Clorox-ed my desk. There are no bite marks, but I still fee like my desk was violated.

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Know Your Pain

This is one of those gut wrenching, do I even dare publish this, posts. How can I express my thoughts, without hurting others? Can I bring myself to be honest about my feelings, without exposing too much about someone else?

But this thing haunts me and I'm ready to face my demons. My thoughts have focused on it daily for nearly a year now. I'm ready to make peace with it and move on. So here it goes, one of my deepest, darkest secrets.

I know someone suffering from secondary infertility and my thoughts have not always been kind towards them. Secondary infertility means that they have children already, but they have decided to have more, but now are having problems. I'm not going to specify if they have 1 child or 6, just that they are currently trying to have more.

But here is what gets me. At one point, they said they were done having children. They were happy and content with the children they had. They took steps and did procedures to make that decision final.

But then they changed their mind.

This is where the bitterness comes in. Josh and I were never given that option. Our infertility was something out of our control. We were never given the opportunity to undo the circumstances that were forced upon us. It blows my mind that some people can. I have had a hard time coming to terms with this fact. How someone can choose to turn their fertility off and then back on.

For months, I have dreaded the big announcement. I have shed a lot of tears trying to come to terms with it all. I've lost a lot of sleep wondering when it will happen. I have pleaded with God to give me peace. As much as I dislike pregnancy announcements, its the pregnancies that are hard. But that is another post for another day.

Over the last few months, I have fought a battle in my heart. It would seem that they are struggling to get pregnant. I know how heart breaking that is. I know how you randomly place your hand on your belly, hoping there is a baby in there. I know how you cry after each negative pregnancy test. I know what it is like to dry those tears and hope that next month will be different.

I won't lie. I have felt some satisfaction out of this. Finally, they can get a glimpse of what it was like for us. I've even noticed how they have gone through similar circumstances like we did having to deal with another family member having an unplanned pregnancy. On the outside, they handled it well. But I'm familiar to the ache that you try to hide in your heart. The voice that cries, "its not fair."

The topic never comes up. Maybe they are afraid I'll rub it in. I won't deny wanting to declare, "See, this is why I was the way I was! This is why I was bitter and unhappy all of the time. Now you can know just exactly what it was like."

But I can't, because I have been there. I know how much your heart hurts. I know what it is like to hope and pray that this month the test is positive. To have every thought, of every day, center around the hope that you might be pregnant. I know what it is like to have others talk about ultra sounds and wish it was you. I know how your arms ache to hold not just any baby, but YOUR baby. I know how hard it is to pretend that all is okay, even though you are dying inside.

I have spent a lot of time asking God to give me peace. Not just about a pregnancy that may happen, but also peace to help me help you. Honestly, I don't know what to do. I have gone back and forth a million times. Do I just ignore the circumstances? Do I offer an olive branch and tell you I feel your pain? Can I separate my pain so that it doesn't interfere with yours?

Every time I decide to just ignore it, I remember how much I hated that. I wanted someone to tell me they understood my pain. Or even if they didn't understand it, they still felt something for me. Even just a hug would have said a thousand words of comfort.

While we were trying to get pregnant, and later adopt, I hated the waiting most. But right below that, I hated feeling like no one cared about me. And I don't have it in me to do that to someone else. Not when I know how much it hurts.

I'm still working on saying the words out loud, but until then, they are in my heart. I know your pain. I feel your heartache. Please know that you are not alone.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Unchosen, Part 3

On Saturday, June 12th, I logged onto Facebook and learned the baby had been born. Once again, I cried for my loss. There was no turning back. The baby we had loved was gone forever.

During all of our infertility struggles, I had so worked hard to keep a calm face on the outside. I had become a master at pretending nothing was wrong, even when I felt like I was dying inside.

The next day was Sunday. We went to church because we felt like we had to. Like everyone would look down at us if we didn't. (At point in my life, we went to church out of guilt, not because we wanted to.) I remember sitting in the Primary room, behind the piano, crying. That is when I decided: the piano player is just a piece of furniture. Not one soul approached me to ask what was wrong. All I could think was, "Today is my first day as not the mom."

That night, my mom called to say my sister would most likely have her baby the next day. I didn't know how to express what I was going through, so I didn't say anything. I had been trying so hard to not ruin my mom's joy with my misery.

My sister had her baby the next morning. I went to the hospital on my lunch break, but refused to hold my nephew. It was just too much. I shouldn't have been there. If things had gone as planned, I would have been at a different hospital getting ready to bring my own baby home.

If things had gone as planned, we would have had the first granddaughter in both of our families, and I would have been the first to give my parents a grandchild. The first year was the hardest. I avoided my family a lot. I knew each milestone would be too much. I should have been experiencing those firsthand. First tooth, first steps. Each one just drove the dagger further into my heart.

The smallest things would set me off into uncontrollable sobs. The hardest part was knowing that the little baby girl was still out there. I kept thinking, if only our loss was a death, it would seem more final.

My all time favorite show is Desperate Housewives. A few seasons in, Carlos and Gaby adopt a little baby girl. But after a while, the birth parents come and take the baby. The scene ends with Carlos holding her wife and she cries, "but we love her!" That is how I felt.

One way I tried to distract myself was to let our cat, Ally, get pregnant. Just as her belly started to swell, she miscarried. I remember crying to God, "Why must even my pets suffer from infertility?"

On the 1st birthday of the little girl, I decorated a birthday cake for my nephew. It felt so wrong. I should be decorating a pink cake.

I worked so hard to hide my grief, and yet  I was so mad that no one acknowledged it. I had gotten flowers when my sister announced her pregnancy. But when I lost my baby, it felt like there was nothing. To most people, our baby never existed, so why should they mourn?

One of my dearest friends urged me to get counseling, but I kept telling her I was fine. But I wasn't fine. As the holiday's loomed, I got worse. The previous year, we had been chosen. We had celebrated that Christmas like it would be our last as just the two of us.

One day, I was standing in the kitchen doing dishes when suddenly, I was on the floor in a heap, bawling. Life just wasn't worth living anymore. My grief was slowly killing me, and I was ready for it to end. I looked outside and saw my husband in the field, helping our neighbor. At that moment, I realized I wanted to be happy again. I wanted to be better for my husband. I was ready to accept I needed help. Even then, I had to schedule three appointments with a counselor because I kept chickening out. I kept telling myself only weak people need professional help.

Counseling did help. But really, time seemed to be the biggest factor. I needed time to grieve. Time to accept what had happened. Time to realize my life was going to be different than what I had planned.

It is said time heals all wounds. I agree and disagree. Looking back, I have healed. But that doesn't mean I will ever forget. This loss will always be a part of my life, no matter how many years pass by. But over time, I have been able to find peace with it. I have learned life doesn't go as planned. It may knock you down, but only you have the strength to get back up and continue on.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Unchosen, Part 2

In all the classes we had attended, they try to prepare you for the possibility a birthmom may change her mind. Adoption is HER decision. She can change her mind at any second. It is always a possibility. Love as much as you can, but be careful because it can end at any moment. The thing they never mentioned was that the birthmom might decide to choose another couple. That is what caught us off guard.

We had no idea how to deal with what had happened. We had only been prepared for her to decide to parent on our own. She would have been an awesome mom and her mom was willing to help her. We were prepared for that. Having her choose someone else came out of no where.

I remember feeling like my baby had died. But she hadn't; now she was just going to someone else. I tried to express this thought online and ended up in a fight with random strangers in a chat forum. They argued she was never my baby to begin with. On the one hand, they were right. But once we were chosen, we feel in love with a little girl that wasn't even born yet. We had a name picked out. We were making plans. In our hearts, she was our baby.

When we were unchosen, all of those plans and dreams died. I even became jealous of those who miscarry during a pregnancy. At least they were still able to consider that baby their own. I didn't even have that. The best way I can describe it was our baby died, but there was no body, so there was no way to find closure for what happened.

I'm not sure if the internet is a blessing or a curse. Within a few days, I knew who the new parents were. While trying to analyze what was wrong with us, I remember thinking things like, "maybe I'm too fat?" "Maybe we don't live close enough?" "Maybe its because we will both continue work after the baby is born?"

When I found the new couple, they really weren't that different from us. They looked just like the other countless couples who were looking to adopt. Seeing a picture of them just left me with more questions.

The next several months dragged by. Each day was a struggle. At times, I would have to remind myself to just breathe in and breathe out. I could barely function past that.

To complicate things, my sister was pregnant at the same time. Her baby's due date was a week after our almost baby. It was impossible to forget about our loss, because something so similar was right before me.

I remember my mom would call and say something about my sister's pregnancy and I would bawl afterwards. I really didn't care if she might have to go on bed rest; she was still going to have her baby. My baby was gone, I couldn't make myself care about anyone else, especially if they were having a baby. It was like driving a dagger further into my wounds.

When they started planning the baby shower, I couldn't let myself be a part of it. It was just too much. I couldn't sit in a room full of people and answer questions about why my younger sister was having a baby while we were still childless.  I knew I couldn't trust myself to stay calm. I had once attended a baby shower when I wasn't in the right state of mind and it was a disaster. I was not doing that again, not with our loss still being so fresh. A few days before, I took my sister to lunch and told her I couldn't come. I was trying to be happy for her, but it was just too hard. I was still grieving for my loss.

As the due date loomed nearer, my online stalking intensified. I was obsessed with knowing what was going on. I'm not sure what I was hoping to find, or what would happened. But I just kept watch on the situation.

A few weeks before the due date, I saw a Facebook post. The adoptive couple had received a phone call the baby might be coming, so they started their long drive, only to get half way there and get another phone call it was a false alarm.

At that point, I almost wished the baby would come. I couldn't move on until the baby was born and placed. I knew the chances were impossible that she would change her mind, but I needed it to be final before I could move on.

At the end of May, a friend invited me on a girl's weekend. She too was dealing with grief. She had a foster care placement and had received word they would be going home soon. So we went to Idaho to escape. I prayed and prayed the baby would come that weekend while I away. But she didn't.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Unchosen, Part 1

I was going to start this post by saying it will most likely be the hardest post I will ever write. But then I remembered the original post that I wrote 5 years ago, the day after we were Unchosen. So I guess this will be the 2nd hardest post I have ever written. And because of its length, I will be breaking it up into a few posts, which I will post over the next few days.

Five years ago was the worst day of my life. It didn't start that way, it was just a normal Tuesday. Work had slowed down for the day, so I decided to check my email.

That is when my world stopped.

I no longer have the email, so I can't remember exactly what it said. At first, I thought I had read it wrong. Things had felt so right, how could this be happening? But there were the words: "I have changed my mind. I'm going to choose someone else."

I remember just staring at my computer in shock. How could this be? I didn't know what to do. I wanted to leave, but I had ridden with a coworker that day, so I had no way to get home. Also, the work day was almost over, so I decided to try and finish the day out in silence. I asked someone to cover my desk for a minute, so I could step away.

I found an empty office and called Josh. By the time he answered, I was hysterical. Through the sobs, all I could do was tell him was to check our email. I asked him to come get me, but he pointed out that before he could get to town, my coworker and I would already be on our way home. I tried to dry the tears and clean up my face and I went back to work. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life.

That night, we cried and wondered what had gone wrong. All of our hopes and dreams were suddenly gone and we didn't understand why. What could we have done different? What made this new couple better than us?

The previous months had been some of the best of our lives. We had been on cloud 9 since November. Our grief caused us to rapidly spiral downwards.

We couldn't find it in our hearts to tell people the news. We hadn't had much support through the entire adoption process. When we had told people we had been chosen, nearly every one made the comment "What if she changes her mind?" I always wanted to scream at them to be happy for me. Because of all of this, I couldn't face someone saying "See, I told you so." They hadn't supported us during the happy part, I knew they wouldn't be there for the hard part either.  In the end, all I did was a small blog post, Unchosen.

We had no idea how to deal with our grief. The next morning, we were like zombies, but we decided to pretend like nothing was wrong and we both went to work. That is one of the biggest regrets. We needed time to grieve; we should have started that immediately.

One of my dear friends at work saw my blog post that morning. I'm eternally grateful that she was there for me. She gave me her love and support. She helped spread the news, so I wouldn't have to. By the end of the day, I realized, I couldn't do the same thing again tomorrow. That is when we decided to disappear for the weekend.

We went to a small hotel out in the middle of nowhere. We locked ourselves in the room and just tried to forget the world outside. We cried. We loved. And we cried some more. I remember at one point, we were laughing about something and then suddenly I was bawling again. How could I laugh during such a horrible time?


Our Adoption Story

I started a post about the day we were Unchosen, but then I realized, I need to tell the beginning of the story, before I tell the ending. Besides, the beginning is my favorite part.

In January 2008, we were approved to adopt. I'll skip over all of the boring details and just skip to the best part. In October, 2009, we had a birthmom contact us through our profile on Parent Profiles.

We spent a few weeks just visiting back and forth through email. She was still considering all of her options, and we supported her taking her time. We tried to get to know each other and I spent a lot of time talking about adoption and what it means to me. We were excited, but we didn't dare get our hopes up to high until a decision was made. So we kept the secret to ourselves. I still get tingly just remembering the feeling of joy.

Near the end of November, she suggested a phone call. We were so nervous. We'd start to dial her number, and then hang up. I think we did that a few times. But once we made the phone call, it felt like we clicked. We visited for awhile and agreed it was time to meet. We set something up for the following weekend.

It was about a 2-1/2 hour drive to her house, but being the over planner that I am, we left 4 hours early so we could have time to find her home. Which really worked well because we got lost a few times. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time. We arrived early, so we decided to just hang out in a parking lot until it was the time we had set up arrived.

When she opened the door, it felt like home. We had taken some treats with us for her family. We sat and visited with her family for a while. Then we headed out to take her to dinner.

We had decided to go to the Olive Garden, which was just up the road from her home. But because of road construction, we had to take a detour to get there. About half way there, a car started honking and pointing at us. We had a flat tire. I was so embarrassed! When we got to the restaurant, Josh had to hurry and change the tire. I just knew the night was ruined and she wouldn't like us anymore.

After dinner, we dropped her off and headed home. We were in love. She was (and still is) one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. I kept hoping she would have a little girl that looked just like her. And her soul was just as sweet. To this day, she still holds a piece of my heart.

We arrived home near midnight. We had decided we wanted to send her an email to thank her for letting us come visit, but when we logged on, we saw we already had an email from her. She loved us and wanted to choose us. There was literally no way to express our joy at that moment.

The next few months were the best months of my life. We tried to go out and see her each month. We went to see the Temple Square lights and went to various movies. One time, she had been excited for a particular dish, but when we went to order, we learned it was no longer on their menu. Josh begged the waitress to make an excpetion, just this once.

Once, when we were coming out of a movie, my mom was there. (I still find that very suspicious.) We hadn't talked about introducing her to our families yet, so it felt like we had been thrown into the fire. (Let's just say that some family members had a hard time with the boundaries we had set.)

In all the months of bliss, that was the only one that gave me bad feeling. I felt like we had thrown a surprise at her without telling her about it, but the problem was, we were just as surprised. It is defiantly the one thing I wish I could change. I still resent what happened that day and have always wondered if that is what led up to the ending.

But the emails continued and we set up plans to go visit again. We were even trying to work it so I could go to an ultrasound and learn the sex of the baby. In the end, she had to get one a little early, so they just did it then.

She was having a girl. We planned on naming her Ashlynn Celeste.