Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 2012 ICLW

Happy ICLW everyone!

Hello to those stopping by from ICLW.  If you are new to ICLW, it stands for International Comment Leaving Week.  If you are new to my site, welcome.  If you've been here before, thanks for stopping by again.  It's been a while since my last ICLW entry, since I went missing in action for a few months last year after my last failed IVF.

Our story briefly:  Babe (hubby) and I have been TTC for over 8 years (I cringe every time I look at the number!).  We were first diagnosed with "unexplained infertility"  Since then, we done just about everything... clomid, surgeries for polyps, 4 IUIs, and a total of 4 IVFs, with the last one done last July. My RE determined that we have low egg quality, probably due to age (I am 38).  However, we have been trying for more than 8 years, so we wonder if it had always been an egg issue? I guess we'll never know.

Since the last IVF July, we had taken a break from fertility treatments, and now wondering what's next.  We are thinking our next step will be adoption, though we are not sure which type type yet.  We are leaning towards international adoption right now.  I just posted about why we think we will do international adoption in my last post.  In fact, tonight, we will be attending an information meeting with an adoption agency that has has a program with the US Marshall Islands. 

Will keep you posted!

A Little Bit of Progress

(Image from: http://parentpathway.com/seeking-serenity-blog/mom-shining-light/progress-not-perfection/attachment/making-progress-with-recovery/)
This is the post that I had been meaning to write for a while now, and am just getting to it.  It has just been difficult to write.  I think we are making some progress.

Babe and I now mostly leaning more towards adoption.  Here's why:
  • We've had 4 failed IVFs. Does it make sense to try again?  Especially when we know the issue is with the quality of my eggs.
  • We have spent an awful amount of money on surgeries, IUIs, medication and IVFs.  I'm afraid to find out exactly how much.  And thank God for insurance.  Do we continue to spend more money for another CHANCE that it would succeed?
  • We considered donor eggs, but Babe is not comfortable with it, though I would be open to it.  Again this is so freaking expensive.  Again, for a CHANCE that it may work.
  • I'm 38 years old.  The risk of having complications and birth defects is higher, even if I manage to get pregnant.
So unless we decide to not have any kids at all, our only option is adoption.  Babe has been more open to the idea of adoption now.  I think he's also tired of waiting.

It's funny (not really), when we were going through infertility treatment, it seemed like everyone was getting pregnant.  Now that we are considering adoption, is seems like everyone that we know who was/are going through the adoption process have been matched or brought home babies very quickly.  It's frustrating!

Even with adoption, there are so many questions to consider.  Do we adopt domestically or internationally?  If we adopt internationally, from what country?  What about embryo adoption?
  • We don't think we will be doing domestic adoptions.  There are many reasons why we are don't think this is right for us.  Babe does not like the idea of open adoptions, which almost all domestic adoptions are now. I know there are pros to it, but he is not keen on it. At least for now.  Also, the thought of a failed adoption scares the crap out of us.  We know of at least a few couples that went through that.  We don't like not knowing how long we may have to wait before getting picked by a birth mother.  Even though a few of our friends have been matched really quickly, I also know of a couple that have been in the domestic adoption program for 4 years, and have yet to be chosen by a birth parent.  At 36 (Babe) and 38 (me), we would be considered an older couple, and that would be against us.  If I were a birth mom and had to choose between a 28 year old and a 38 year old, I would prefer a younger couple to parent my child.  Also, we don't like the idea of having to do a profile, and "sell" ourselves.  I hate the idea that we have to compete for a baby.  On the plus side, because we are a bi-racial couple, that could be plus for us.  I know domestic adoption is wonderful for a lot of people.  But for us, at least right now, we don't think it is right for us.
  • I would love to pursue embryo adoption, to be able to experience pregnancy, and to bond and carry my child or children.  However, Babe is not comfortable with this option.  Just like he is not comfortable with the idea of using donor eggs.  And I have to honor that.  Embryo adoption also comes with its own sets of challenges.  It is so new, most people have never even heard of it.  How do you explain to your child who he/she is?  How do you explain it to your family?  Your friends? Adoption is hard enough, but embryo adoption would be harder to explain.  But not unmanageable.  Though I'd love to go down this road, it is not for us, at least not now.
  • We are leaning more towards international adoption.  International adoption has changed quite a bit since the last time we considered adoption, which was 3 - 4 years ago.  Since I am ethnically Chinese, I thought we would adopt from China.  However, the last time we looked, the wait for adoption from China was 5 - 7 years.  I just found out the adoption agencies that we are considering going through either does not have the regular China program, but only have the waiting children program (children with special needs), or there is no information provided regarding the wait time of the program.  I'm sorry, but I am not willing to wait that long for a child.  We have previously also looked into the Korean program.  I called one of the agencies and asked about it.  Policies have now changed with the Korean program as well.  It looks like Korea now has a quota that limits the number of babies that leave the country every year.  So even if you have been referred a child (which can be quite a few months into your adoption process), there may be another up to 18 months before you can travel to bring you child home.  This means that by the time your child comes home, he or she may be 2 -3 years old!  So we are not too keen on the Korean program either.   There are many other countries that we could consider, but we are either not keen, or just have no desire to adopt from.  Some reasons include the age of the child, how long we have to wait, the cost, etc.  There are many pros and cons to each.
  • A friend of mine who just adopted domestically works for a non-profit organization that is also and adoption agency.  She told me about a fairly new international adoption program with the US Marshall Islands.  The great thing about this is the children available for adoption are infants, usually only a few months old.  Plus the wait time is shorter than most, with the referrals taking about 6 - 15 months.  This program is unique in that the adoption is open, meaning you will know about the child's birth family, and they about you.  However, I am not sure how open exactly.  I am excited about this program.  Even though this is for open adoptions, I think it makes a difference that we are in a different country, so I am more comfortable with it.  When I called and talked to the agency, I found of that due to the popularity of the program, they had JUST started a waiting list to get on the program.  So to save myself a spot on the waiting list, we registered and paid the $50 registration fee.  We are currently #2 on the wait list to be on the program.  We have received the forms and documents that need to be completed, and man, there are hell of a lot of paperwork!!  I've started looking at the forms but have not started seriously working on it until we decide formally, 100% that this is what we want to do.
Babe and I are attending an information meeting at the adoption agency that does the Marshall Islands program tonight.  Though we are only interested in the Marshall Islands program, I thought it would be good for us to go to the information meeting and find out more about the agency and the other programs available, both domestic and international.  I want to find out if we can be in both the domestic and Marshall Islands program at the same time.  I doubt it, but no harm asking.  Will let you know how things go at this meeting.

We are not officially adopting yet, but we are making a little bit of progress.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dropping A Bomb ............ An Awkward Question

Today, I stopped by my sister-in-law's (Babe's sister) to drop something off.  I stayed a few minutes to chat and she dropped this question, prefacing with something to the fact of (I don't remember her exact words), I don't want to intrude or be totally off .... but.....:

"Do you guys need a surrogate?"

I was like.... What the..... huh??

Where did that come from? I don't really even remember what I said exactly as I was too shocked.  I asked her why she would say something like that.

SIL said that well, we (Babe and I) have been married for quite a few years now, what is it, 8? (it will be 10), and most people either want kids or don't.  And since we are so good with kids, she assumed that we did (of course we do).  She and her other sister thought that maybe we were having issues (so, they have discussed us already?).  She offered that if we need a surrogate she would be willing to do it (she has 2 kids already).  She also said she is now 38 (same age as me) and is getting older, and can't be too old if she were to do it.

This is interesting.  I wonder what her definition of surrogacy is, or how much she knows about it.  I wonder if she meant gestational surrogate/carrier.  A friend once explained to me that a traditional surrogate is one that the surrogate (pregnant woman), is the biological mother, meaning that the sperm is from the couple, but the egg is from the woman carrying the baby.  A gestational surrogate/carrier does not have any genetic ties to the baby, i.e. the baby is not conceived with eggs of the woman carrying the baby.

I'm assuming that she meant gestational surrogacy.  We sure don't want babies created with the egg and sperm from a brother and sister!

Anyway, I don't really remember what my reply was because I was struggling to some up with a response.  I think I said something like no we won't be going down that route.  I didn't want to discuss the details of our infertility journey, at least not right now.

I doubt she knows that we have gone through multiple IVFs, or that the issue is with my eggs.  She may just be guessing that the issue is with me (which it is) and not Babe (i.e. her brother), but offered to help.  In the end I just said that we will be making some decisions fairly quickly and left it at that.  I didn't want to share what we have gone through or what our next steps are since we don't really know.

After I left, I felt kind of bad because I don't think I even thanked her for her offer.  And it is a very generous offer.  It was hard to respond on the spot when such a question was thrown at me.  I think I may have to thank her for her offer later, when I put more thought about what to say, and when we know more about what our next steps are.

It also made me think if she or my other SIL may have ran across my blog and guessed it is me?  As I was writing this post, Babe came into the room and read the first part of the blog.  He cautioned me that one day, she may read this post.  I thought about it too, but what this heck, this is my blog after all, and it is a way for me to express myself.  I am writing it anonymously (and hope to keep it that way).  I can't be too worried about who reads it, or it will defeat the purpose of blogging.  Plus this post is not a negative one.

Anyway, if my SIL is reading this and figures out this is me..... well hello.  And thanks for the offer.

Wow..... makes me wonder what types of discussions about Babe and I go on in the family.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Other People's Kids


So as I reread my last post, I realize that I sound like a whiny brat, complaining about watching other people's kids.

To clarify, I don't mind watching other people's kids..... sort of.

In a way I kind of dread doing it, but yet when I do it, I usually enjoy it.  To a certain extent.

I enjoy hanging out with my goddaughter and her little brother, and it's great to receive hugs and kisses from them. To know that they care about you, and that you are an important part of their lives.  But at the same time, it's hard because you know they are not yours, and you desperately want kids to call your own.  For someone to call you "mommy", and know they don't want anyone else more than you, because you are their mommy or daddy.  The ones that can fix anything with a hug and a kiss.  You want to hear, "I don't want you, I want my mommy" and know that that person is you!

For Babe, he looks forward to hanging out with his nieces and nephews, and friends' kids.  For him it's a way to influence young minds (good and bad!!).  He's also a kid magnet, and ALL his nieces and nephews just adore him.  Whenever we get together, the kids always ask for Uncle "Babe".  But never for me.

I think this is partly my own fault.  I used to spend a lot more time with the (at that time only a couple of) nieces and nephews.   But as time went on, more and more nieces and nephews started popping up, and more of our friends started having first one, then more kids.  And as we spent more and more years in our infertility struggle, I became more and more reluctant to spend time with the nieces and nephews and friends' kids.

I guess it is a reminder of the struggle of what we desperately want, but can't have.  And to be honest, I resent the attention that Babe gives his nieces and nephews when he should be giving it to our kids, if only we had any.  And the resentment of the time and money we've spent on these kids, in babysitting, in birthday parties, in Christmas/birthday presents, etc.  Will/would they return the favors if we had/have kids?  Would they be offering to watch our kids?

What about you? Do you feel the same way?  Do you like spending time with other people's kids?

If you are still trying to conceive on your own, what are your feeling about other peoples kids, especially your nieces and nephews?  If you once struggled, and now have biological kids or have adopted, how did you feel and how do you feel now?

Weird and Confusing

I meant to write a different post today, but I guess that will have to wait.

Today has been a weird and confusing day.

Firstly, I met up with an ex-colleage of mine for lunch today.  A few months before I left my job, I found out that Kath was planning on doing and IVF sometime this year because it is almost impossible for her to have a baby naturally as she only has one fallopian tube due to an ectopic pregnancy.  We had discussed IVF and I even lent her a book, and offered to share my experience with her.  Then today at lunch, I found out she is going to have a baby in April.  No, she is not pregnant, but she is adopting a baby.  In fact, she is adopting her cousin's baby as she (the cousin) is having a second unplanned baby, and has chosen not to parent.  This came as a surprise, so now they are scrambling to get their adoption paperwork done.  I'm excited and happy for them.

Then, today another friend, who had left for Florida to adopt a baby girl, posted on Face.book that it's official that the baby is theirs.   The baby was born on Valentine's Day.  Their adoption was quick too.  Again, happy and excited for them.

So these are all great stories, and I am truly happy for them.  Really, I am.

Yet, I am feeling sad.  Sorry for myself.  Angry.  Seems like everyone is moving on, and and so quickly too!  But me? Still here, still the same.  While things are happening quickly for others.  It's s frustrating.

And to add salt to the wound, I received a text from my sister-in-law tonight asking if we would watch their four kids (yes, FOUR kids - ages 2 - 8) while her and her husband go on a long weekend trip.

Why do people think that it is OK to ask someone with no kids to watch their kids???

Do we have the label "you-can-be-my-babysitter-since-you-don't-have-any-kids-of-your-to-watch" on our foreheads?  It's so frustrating!!

To be fair, they are looking for someone to watch their kids Friday through Monday, and with me currently not working, I suppose they assume I would be free and hopefully willing to do it.  She has also offered to pay me for it.  Honestly, I don't want her to pay me.  I would rather do it to help her out, a favor, if you will, and not make a big deal out of it.  If there is money involved it just won't be right.

Babe thinks we (mostly I) should do it.  If When we have kids in the future, we may need help from them.  Maybe that's true.  OK, that's probably true but I can't help the feeling of resentment.

Some may say I could use the practice.  But it's not the same when it's not your own kids.  I think it's hard to be responsible for someone else's kids.  You don't have full authority to discipline them.  What if something happens to them? Or they break something?  Like a finger, or worse?

End the end, I think I will end up agreeing to do it anyways.

On a sadder note, the gal I mentioned in my last post, unfortunately miscarried from her IVF.  It's so hard to see someone go through IVF, get a positive result, and then miscarry.  I want to say that I know how she is feeling, losing her embabies, but I don't.  I never got to the positive test result.  But I do understand the feeling of loss and grief.  Please say a prayer for her and her hubby as they figure out what's next for them.

Sigh...... It's weird and confusing.  Feeling happy, sad and resentment all at the same time.

I hope one day I can look back and honestly say that it was all worth it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Updating my blog

I just realized how out of date my blog is.  I just updated my "A little about me" section on the left hand side of this blog, from my age being 37 to now 38.  Also had to update the failed rounds of IVF from 3 to 4, and now we are trying to figure out what's next.


Seems like so much has happened and yet, nothing has changed for me.  Still here, still trying to "start our family".  I have gone from "TTC" (trying to conceive) to "still trying to start our family".

I have mentioned in the past that I am part of a support group called "Patiently Waiting" which consists of the infertility group and the adoption group.  I have been attending the infertility group, and now have started attending the adoption group.  Lately, there has been changes to the group.

  1. Just found out about half an hour ago, one of the gals is pregnant via IVF.  This was their first transfer after 2 cancelled cycles.
  2. Another gal and her hubby are now pregnant with twins via embryo donation.
  3. 2 other gals decided to go the adoption route and were matched and babies (a boy and a girl) placed in their homes in a very short period of time.
  4. The couple that hosts the infertility night adopted their son a couple of year ago, and now they have just been matched and placed with an 8-month old baby girl via the foster care system.  They were supposed to bring her home yesterday.
So lots of things happening.... just not for me.

Still here, same old.  

Sorry if this feel like a feel-sorry-for-myself post.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hello World... Again.

Hello World.... it's me, again.

Yes, it's ridiculous how long it's been since the last post (October 2011), and the one before that (July 2001).  I know, I've been a really bad blogger.  I want to thank those of you that commented on my last posting.  I'm surprised that there are still people out there reading this.

Since my last posting of being stuck in a huge rut, a couple of things have happened in my life.  A couple of pretty major things actually.

First of all, I quit my job!  Yup, crazy, but I left my super stressful job. I need to get my life back in order, figure out what's next for me, and just get my mind back.  My last day was November 30th, 2011.  It was a struggle at first to make a decision to do it, but then I am so glad to be done!

The other big thing.....  I went home (back to Asia) for 3 weeks to celebrate Christmas and New Year with my family.  While there, my Babe and my family took a side trip and spent 5 days, including Christmas in Bali.  It was great fun, and super warm.  Great time to take a trip to a warm tropical country during our winter here.  It was nice to be able to take a vacation and know that I don't have to worry about coming home to super stressful job.

It has taken me this long to blog again because.....
  1. While I was still at my job, I did not have time to think about what our next step is, though infertility never left my thoughts.  And then when I finally decided to leave, I spent the time trying to wrap up everything (not very successfully) before I left the job.  After that, I spent the next 2 weeks getting ready for my trip, and doing all the Christmas shopping for family and friends here before we left.
  2. I'm not sure what our next step is.  We think it is adoption, but we don't know what kind.  We don't think we will do domestic infant adoption (that can be a whole other post), nor are we up for waiting children (special needs).  So we are thinking international.  But then, we have to decide from which country?  So many questions and issues to consider.  Then there's embryo adoption.  I just don't  know and we just can't decide!  It's so hard to commit!  It's also hard to let go of the dream of having our own biological children too.
  3. I didn't want to update my blog.  Honestly, I was am just plain lazy.....   I feel like I don't have much to update.  I still have a lot of researching and soul searching as far as what kind of adoption we want to do, or if that is even what we really want.
So, here I am...... planning to stick around the blogsphere as Babe and I try to figure out what's next.