Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
It seems we have been very busy since the IUI in June. I had some rather unexpected (by me at least) side-effects following the fertility medications, but I think I am now past those completely. I sure hope so. We’ve celebrated my 27th birthday this month and we have been very busy seeing our friends and family. I also did a 5K mud-run to celebrate my birthday so there was time spent preparing for and recovering from that. This weekend we stayed with my extended family in a cabin in Georgia. This included a lot of laughter and good food. Sabbath morning I snuck out before anyone else was up and did a short run around the lake. I listened to hymns on my iPod and was really touched by the cool, quiet beauty. It ended up being one of the most refreshing times I have had in a while. I felt a certain peace as I climbed the hill back up to the cabin. Like I was given something of a promise from God that he is on this path with us and has a plan for us even if I feel like we are stuck waiting.
Stuck. The word keeps coming up. Stuck in the mud. Feeling a bit stuck and out of control in life. It came up again in a book recommended by a friend. This month I have read Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility by Sami S. David, MD and Jill Blakeway, L.Ac. Turns out, according to this book, I am stuck. More on that in a bit.
Dr. David and Blakeway (in case you don’t know, “L.Ac” mean licensed acupuncturist), a fertility specialty team from New York, outline their method to “support a woman’s ability to bear a child with just enough helped to get nature to do its thing.” They argue that in many cases there is a better way to help couples conceive than the “aggressive surgical, pharmacological, and technological intervention[s]” being offered by many fertility specialists. David and Blakeway lay out a plan that helps couples optimize their fertility. They don’t take an adversarial position towards Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), but they take the position that the cost and risk are, many times, not necessary. They argue that Western medicine and Chinese medicine working hand in hand can improve fertility without the expense or side effects (and risks) of ART. David and Blakeway critique western medicine for catering to a desire for instant gratification with a one-size-fits-all approach. They argue that the strength of Chinese medicine is its focus on considering the person as a whole.
The Making Babies program tells patients to eat well, de-stress, and take their vitamins. They go on to identify 5 fertility types and detail the steps for each type to maximize their fertility. The 5 types are Tired, Dry, Stuck, Pale, and Waterlogged. These types are inspired by the patterns used in traditional Chinese medicine. They then detail the steps each type should take to optimize their fertility. They suggest that a couple take a 3-month “Pre-mester” to prepare their bodies to conceive and support a pregnancy by implementing these steps.
As I said before, my type is Stuck. David and Blakeway outline foods to eat and foods to avoid; they talk about exercise, lifestyle choices and supplements that will help optimize fertility. I really appreciate the practical, specific advice and achievable steps they offer. I really appreciate that this offers solutions that are not expensive, invasive medical procedures or fertility drugs. Who can really argue with eating more vegetables, exercising more, taking vitamins, and reducing stress? We decided to give it a try. So, more vegetables and vitamins for the Foggs!
I would recommend this book for the reproductively challenged, those who are starting to try and want to be as healthy as possible to conceive, and especially physicians. This book gives you the tools, knowledge and vocabulary to improve your fertility and partner with your doctor to find the plan of action that works best for you. You can find out more about the Making Babies program here or order the book here.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
"Scott! Kelly!" He cheered. "Welcome to our humble summertime abode! Katy's not here right now, she'll join us after the tour. But I'm here! We can still have a bit of fun, yeah? You're here, life can still be a party!"
Kelly and I laughed and he showed us to our room. "Why don't you two relax, I'll go downstairs and get the cookin' on."
Russell disappeared and Kelly went to take a shower. I laid down for a quick nap . . . and when I woke back up, Kelly was sitting at the foot of the bed, holding a chubby little baby. Russell Brand was standing behind her. They were both grinning excitedly.
"What's this?" I asked.
"It's your baby!" Russell Brand answered.
"It can't be." I shook my head.
"Of course it can!" Russell Brand yelled back at me, almost sounding offended. "Don't you want it?"
"Of course I do," I said. "But . . . where did it come from?"
"Scott!" Russell rolled his eyes. "You ask too many questions!"
It was then I realized why Kelly had insisted we visited Russell and Katy. She knew Russell had some dark, back alley connections. She knew he could find us a baby. The baby was cooing now, playing with Kelly's hair. He was adorable, with his shock of orange hair and . . . vaguely . . . purple skin.
"Is his skin purple?" I asked.
"Again with the questions!" Russell threw his hands in the air. "Scott! You're a father now! You can't go spending your time pointing out how different and strange and weird your son is! You say 'purple' as if it's pejorative! You're a family now! You have a baby! What do you possibly have to complain about?!"
And then I woke up.
I was sad. Despite the baby being purple, I really thought I could have given it a good home.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
It has been a tough week. This weekend every time we did laundry the water gurgled up into our shower. We decided not to panic or call someone immediately. It could wait until after the weekend; after all it was Fourth-of-July weekend. Then on July 4 we started seeing toilet paper come up into the shower. That crossed the line. On Tuesday we had someone come snake the pipes in the house. No problems there. Turns out, the problem was between the house and the street where the city sewer runs. We needed a new sewer line. Our vintage (circa 1949) clay pipe was crushed and filled with roots. Time for an upgrade. Our good friends got one of those last autumn; we knew what kind of cost to expect. High. Like $5000 high. That figure kind of kicks you in the stomach, doesn’t it?
This came right on the tail of some other tough news. Last month we decided to try the IUI route – more about that surreal process in a later post – and it did not work. This past month was one that included a lot more immediate hope than we had felt in a long time.
There was a time when we first started “trying” when we eagerly awaited the end of my cycle to see if we were pregnant. Then there was a time when we counted the days to ovulation and then endured the two week wait between ovulation and the disappointing start of menstruation. Then somewhere along the way we stopped counting. We settled in for a longer wait.
But IUI, that gave us some hope. Not that we didn’t have hope that someday we will have our family. More like “hey this may finally just work. It may take both of us AND a medical staff of 6, but hey, maybe this can actually happen.” The doctor’s office staff was very positive and optimistic. It was catching. I tried to not get my hopes up. To expect it not to work. But secretly I hoped it would. Of course, why would we even spend the time and money to do it if we didn’t think there was some chance it would work? I did acupuncture to support the process. I took it easy; no heavy lifting or yard work for me. I was going to be the perfect host for that egg turned embryo.
We got the news Tuesday afternoon that the pregnancy test was negative, again. Then that night we got the news that the plumbing was not working and needed to be replaced. (The house’s plumbing, that is. Not my plumbing. My plumbing supposedly works fine. And let’s just say the doctor was very proud of Scott’s contribution to the IUI process.) It was a hard night. I might not have cried like I did except the thought of our savings getting buried (literally) in the front yard just pushed me over the edge. That money is the money that we’ve been saving for the adoption. So it felt like twice in one day I had gotten the news that we would not be having, or getting, a baby.
Things looked better the next day. Most things do after a good night’s sleep. We met with the contractor and his estimate was a much lower than expected – which doesn’t dent our savings as badly as we had dreaded. And now that the indoor plumbing is working as it should, things are looking up. We have wonderful friends and family who have done and said just the right things this week: “That sucks.” “Heard you had a bad day.” “If you need anything let me know.” “Let’s go get ice cream." (which is totally awesome!)
I am reminded that God blesses even as this world tries to take our hope for the future. Not only did we have the money available to cover the unexpected cost of a new sewer line, but our dedicated family had connections with someone who could get the work done quickly. The IUI didn't work, but I am in a place where I kind of feel like it was something that needed to be tried and now we can move on to the next thing, whatever that may be. I want to praise God for taking care of us and surrounding us with the support we need as we walk this path as homeowners AND as potential parents. I am again reminded that God has a plan for our lives.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I want to first of all say that God sends blessings to us in ways we never think are possible. As a bit of background, I have been the Women’s Ministry director at our church for the past two years. I have struggled with finding something unique that I could add to the many things our church already does for the members and the community. There are many groups under the Women’s Ministry umbrella that were there before I started and function completely independent of me and my meager budget. Some groups even had their own budgets. I spent many hours trying to figure out what group or event I could plan that someone like me would attend. I’m busy with a husband, friends, family and full-time work. What kind of event would I be willing to drive the 20 minutes out to the church to attend?
It took me a good 18 months to admit that the word infertility applied to us. It took another 3 months of God’s nagging (there has to be a better word) to get me to start the support group that our community needs. I figured that Scott and I were not the only ones who are going through this, but Satan uses isolation, fear, and shame to beat us down and keep us from living the lives God has called us to lead. Our small group, called Third Thursdays, is now 4 months old. I am so blessed to have a group of women who know exactly how I feel. They know the answers to some of my questions. They feel the same longing that I feel and they can articulate it way better than I can. It is good to know that I am not alone. It is also very cool to think that God used me to help these other ladies, even if I add nothing to the mix and they help each other. God is so good.
I continue to be impressed with these women’s resiliency and hope. We share a lot of hard things, but we also share a lot of laughter. I want to share with you a list of things we, the reproductively challenged, want to ban from the general discussion all together. We compiled this list while laughing, but there are some things people say, with all good intentions, which are not helpful and can even be hurtful. Some of these have been said to me and some are things others have heard.
10 Things that the Adopting or Reproductively Challenged Couple Probably Doesn’t Want to Hear
- “Just get drunk, you’ll get pregnant.”
- “Try going on vacation.”
- “You’re young, you have plenty of time.”
- So many people are getting pregnant. “It must be in the water!”
- “Just take my kids for the night, and then you’ll never want kids again.”
- “Just relax, when you stop thinking about it, it will happen.” Fact: Stress is not a significant cause of infertility.
- Any complaints about how miserable you are with your pregnancy. You may be uncomfortable, but please count those symptoms or annoyances as opportunities to be thankful for your pregnancy.
- For those who are adopting – “Are you just giving up on having your own baby?” Or “Don’t you want your OWN baby?”
- “As soon as you adopt you will have one of your own. Chuckle, chuckle.” We know that you may be uncomfortable and not know what to say. But, please don’t say this. The fact is the number of infertile people who get pregnant after pursuing adoption is the same number of infertile people who get pregnant after ending fertility treatments. 5-12% maybe, if the internet can be trusted. The factor of deciding to adopt or adopting a child is not relevant. And who knows, maybe those who conceived after adopting did not have fertility problems to begin with.
- “Maybe God is punishing you for something. Have you confessed your sins?”
It was cathartic for us to make this list. I share this with you to help us all make the world a better, more sensitive place. This blog has had 2475 page views, 261 of those in June alone. Now, that may just be my mom and one of our good friends in Scotland, but I am guessing not. Our readers include someone (or people) in Canada, Russia, Ireland, Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, India and Iran. Scott and I hope that our openness can help someone else who may be experiencing something similar.
If you know someone who is reproductively challenged, the best thing to say may be, "I'm sorry you're going through this. I know it's difficult, and I hope things work out for you. Let me know if there's anything I can do." If you are reproductively challenged yourself, we offer that to you.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner and Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. I’m not sure how many people would put these two books together and on top of that call them both must-read parenting books, but I would and I do. These books came highly recommended after a very interesting debate with some beloved friends. I feel a bit smarter for having read both.
The first is a collaboration between a journalist and an economist. Levitt and Dubner take on issues (among others) such as “Does what you name your child affect his success in life?” “Does the number of books in your home help your child be more successful?” The answer to both turns out to be a surprising “No.” Both are actually indicators (rather than causes) of a child’s socioeconomic status which plays a bigger role than many other factors in a child’s future success. I’m sure the writers did not intend this to be a parenting book, but it presents answers to many issues that parents will care about and actually may make parenting a bit less stressful. BTW, I know I must be the last person in the world to read this book since it came out in 2005.
In the second, Orenstein confronts the princess and pink culture created for girls by juggernaut Disney and others out to market their goods to your daughters. The most interesting part of this book is when she takes a break from hating on Disney, Nickelodeon and Mattel to really explore the reasons (aside from nearly 24/7 marketing campaigns) that girls are so drawn to the whole pretty-pretty-princess thing. Turns out it may have more to do with a developmental period around ages 3-6 when girls (and boys) are trying to understand the permanence of gender, rather than the hypothesis that girls just like pink. She cites studies that are investigating the natural differences between boys and girls. She discusses how same- and cross- gender play helps children develop. I would have liked her to spend more time on discussion of self-esteem development despite the influences of our consumer culture, but maybe she covered that in her first book Schoolgirls.
The book appears thoroughly researched with quite the bibliography, but reads like it was written by an intelligent women who has been driven slightly mad by too many hours of the Disney Channel. The tone of the book fluctuates from militaristic feminist to rational discussion. Feels like it was written fast and not really edited for consistency of tone. But it was good enough that I read it in less than a week, and I would be willing read more of her work.
Neither book is written by a psychologist, but rather by journalists examining problems they see in the world. I feel like Orenstein’s book may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, while Freakanomics does just the opposite.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Last month’s 1-hour talk with the doctor has sparked hours of conversation, hours of thought and maybe a few tears. The doctor told us there was no reason we should not have already had a baby or at least a pregnancy. All the 2000 parts are in working order. Whew. Good news there. I guess. I had kind of hoped that there was some one small thing wrong that we could correct. Maybe hair color? The doc said redheads have a higher propensity of endometriosis. But I am not a natural redhead. If it helps through, I could be a blonde again. Or even a brunette (gasp). Nope. Nothing so simple, because there is nothing wrong.
He gave us two options. IVF and IUI. These options were no surprise. After all Scott used to work there. We know the services they sell. We’ve considered both. IVF is cost prohibitive for us. More importantly we feel called to spend that kind of money adopting a child who is already here. A child who needs our home. IVF may be for some people. Not us. Not right now.
IUI. That is a different story entirely. With insurance and our medical savings account the cost is not so intimidating. The treatment is not so invasive. We’ve decided to do it in the future. But we are not going to tell you when. We don’t want to get your hopes up; because the success rate is low. We don’t want to get our hopes up either. We don’t really want to be disappointed again.
More than 2 years ago we had a positive pregnancy test. We had an OB appointment. But we didn’t have the little flutter on the ultrasound that is a heartbeat. We had gotten excited and told our parents and friends too early. We learned that good news spreads fast, but the bad news does not disseminate so easily or quickly. It is no fun to meet acquaintances who expect you to be 6 months pregnant when you aren’t. The conversation is awkward.
We lay in bed and talked about sharing this with you, the entire world. Scott reminded me of our commitment to being honest about this journey. To crafting a blog that documents the real emotions, the good, the bad, and the vulnerable, of infertility, adoption and building a family. I reminded him about the raw hurt of having to answer follow-up questions from our well-meaning community of friends and family. So here I am writing it, because he is right. The Next Chapter is incomplete if we don’t put it all out there.
Please trust that we will let you know if it is successful. But it will be in our own time. If you don’t hear from us about it in 6 months, you can guess that it probably didn’t work. But maybe, for our sake, please don’t ask.
IUI doesn’t mean that we don’t want to adopt or that we are putting that process on hold. It just means that we are exploring our options for having a biological child. If it works, great. If it works AND we get the call for a baby to adopt, fantastic. Then there will be two (“If we have two, it will be fantastic,” Scott just said over my shoulder, “because then we’ll be four. The Fantastic Four.”).
So in conclusion, we believe in family, in community, in honesty. We believe that we can’t be the only ones going through this. So as hard as it is, as tough as it is to be vulnerable, we are committed to allowing you to be part of this journey. All we ask is that you give us your prayers and well-wishes rather than ask the follow-up question that we may not be ready to answer. Don’t worry we will let you know…
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Thursday is not my favorite day of the week. I’ll admit it. I may be prejudice against it, but I am not a fan of Thursdays. Thursday for me is like everyone else’s Monday. If I am going to be inexplicably running late, it will be Thursday. If I am running late AND have an 8:30 am meeting, it will be Thursday. It started back when I worked at summer camp. Thursday evenings were staff social night and for some reason I would usually get thrown in the pool fully dressed by my then boyfriend (current husband). There is just something about Thursday that has not sat right with me ever since.
So in an effort to brighten my outlook on the day, I picked Thursday to be the day for my church group to meet. You know, something to look forward to. A pre-weekend bright spot.
This blog has, so far, focused on our adoption journey. The missing piece has been: why we are pursuing adoption now? Scott and I have always talked about having a child and then adopting our second child. That was the plan at least. After two years of “trying” and six months of Clomid treatments (not fun) we have been unable to conceive. It has been a bittersweet two years. We have watched our friends, co-workers, and distant acquaintances conceive and have babies. We’ve been blessed to be part of the miraculous arrivals of our new “niece” and “nephews.” It is touching to be so close with people that you are invited to meet their child when he/she is only hours old. It has also been sad for us to watch from the sidelines.
Infertility. It is a word I have avoided. And I am the one who argues that words only have power if you let them. Well I have let it intimidate me. It is a lonely place because you don’t really want to talk about it, no one else does either. You feel like you must be the only one. When I pause to think rationally though, I know that I am not the only one. I can’t be. If I am hurting and feeling this sense of loss (can you miss something you never had?) there are other people who are feeling this too.
So I finally built up the courage to do what God has been calling me to do for some time: Start a support group for women experiencing infertility and pregnancy loss. It is a small, slowly growing group. It feels good to reach out to someone else. So, on the third Thursday of each month at 7pm you will find me with a small group in an upstairs room of the Collegedale Community Church, making someone’s Thursday a little better. Maybe even my own.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
One Big Happy Family edited by Rebecca Walker
This book is a compellation of essays by 18 different writers about their families. Readers get a glimpse into the lives of “polyamory, open adoption, mixed marriage, househusbandry, single motherhood and other realities of truly modern love.” I can’t say I agree with all of the chosen lifestyles, but I did enjoy the journey through families very different from my own. I found a lot a can agree with and some things that definitely challenged me. The Vachons of Equally Shared Parenting even made a cameo.
I would recommend this as a good read for those who are exploring just what they want their family to be. It can be a challenge to re-imagine what a family is. The Bible says “. . . man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24 NIV). This coming together is creating a new thing, a new family. One that can take all the good from both their families and create something entirely new. The challenge is to learn from the less-than-good things and implement that learning into the functioning of the new family. Our pre-marital counselor started the discussion of what our families are and were. This exercise has grown into an ongoing conversation of how we want our new family to function.
Polyamory, not for us, but does seem to work for Jenny Block and her spouse. Open adoption or househusbandry, now those could be an option. It is interesting to see an exploration of different family systems; it is refreshing for them to be presented by those who believe in them the most. Overall a pleasant read and a nice break from strictly adoption related material.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
You Can Adopt: An Adoptive Families Guide by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley.
I paid full price for this book, new from Barnes and Noble. I love the feel of getting to be the first person to open a book. To be the first to crease the spine. It is a rare treat to read a NEW book when one’s DH works at a used book store. It must be savored. So I have taken a really (embarrassingly) long time finishing this book. That is my excuse and I am sticking with it. It was worth the money.
This is a good getting-started-in-the-adoption-process book. This book breaks down the process step by step – Can I do this? Domestic vs. international? Where to start? What do I do with the child once I get him/her? What could go wrong? It is broken up into nice short sections. Question then answer. And check lists, oh how I love lists. Interspersed with that is pictures of ADORABLE babies and stories about real adoptions. The stories really ground the book, which can be a bit intimidating, in a sense that this will all work out in the end. I would recommend it.
Equally Shared Parenting, by Marc and Amy Vachon
On the other hand, having a DH who works at a used book store means that I can get LOTS of books really cheap. (Not that that fact has stopped either of us from buying brand new, full price children’s books.) It is a luxury to pick up a book just because you like the cover art with only pennies committed to the purchase price. That is the case with Equally Share Parenting. I honestly picked it up because it has shoes on it. Three pairs of converse – two adult sized and one child sized pair of converse. I might like shoes nearly as much as books.
Equally Share Parenting sets out a paradigm for managing one’s family that really is equal between both partners, not just a division of roles. One partner is not an apprentice housekeeper or second-string wage earner. Both parents are expected to take full ownership of all household, breadwinning and child rearing tasks. Both parents are expected to be equally competent at all tasks. This frees both parents to enjoy time with their family.
Sounds like having your cake and eating it too. The trick is prioritizing the family over an individual career or certain wage level. Both partners are encouraged to be “artisan” workers so they can bargain for fewer hours or flexible work schedules rather than more money and increasing responsibility. Corporate America beware: you might not like workers who use their bargaining chips for less work time rather than more money. Equally Share Parenting teaches balanced living with a focus on living within one’s means. Honestly, who can argue with that? Who really needs a wipe warmer?
The tag line is “Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents.” I’m not sure it is a new idea, but the Vachons articulated it well. I would recommend it.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Some of our best friends had a baby this week. We have been so blessed to be allowed to be part of their pregnancy and the birth of their little baby boy. I feel so honored to be invited to come see the baby when he was only hours old. It is really neat (that is an understatement) to be so close to people that you have seen them meet, fall in love, get married, buy a house, and now have a baby. What a joy to have that kind of continuity in our lives.
Our rather large group of friends gathered at the hospital to wish the proud mom and dad congratulations the night he was born. There was a very cool excitement and energy in that room. I can’t articulate how moved I was to just be able to be a part of it. If I feel this way, no wonder they are just glowing.
I got to hold baby boy for 2 glorious hours yesterday. He was just 4 days old. He curled up in a little ball and nestled down into my arms, making little baby noises. Baby’s perfect, mama’s proud, and daddy is just smitten. He was smitten from the first moment, but it is adorable to see him cooing over this little 7 pounder. I can’t wait to see my other two friends with their babies soon.
All I can really say is “I want that.” And “I can’t wait to see Scott as a Papa.”
Friday, February 18, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
- Pray for the birth mother and our baby wherever they may be.
- Continue to collect children's books and necessary baby items. I have already finished refurbishing a high chair. Maybe Baby Micah will test it out to make sure it is nice and comfy. There is a pack of diapers, wipes, and powder ready to go. And a few sleep outfits are hanging in the closet.
- Paint the guest room a.k.a. future nursery.
- Cuddle all of my friends' sweet, sweet babies.