Tuesday, May 17, 2016

With a little help from my friends...

I think the hardest part for me, going through infertility and my struggles to become a mom was doing it alone. Every decision, every appointment, every needle, disappointment and loss I endured by myself. 

I remember sitting in the doctor's office, with my legs dangling off the table and a quite ultrasound machine in front of me. "Take all the time you need." the nurse stated as she walked out the door. I just sat there alone. Utterly alone...

We all need help sometimes. And when that help comes it is the lifeline you've been praying for. 

I was blessed to have the support of my family and friends...but even still I could have used a little bit more.

So I am here trying to help a friend. One baring her soul and doing whatever it takes to achieve her dream of being a mom. It's not an easy road and it is a lonely one. I know! So if you can help that would be amazing...this is my friend Kristina's story!









Hello! I want to thank Michaela for generously sharing her blog space today so that I can share my campaign to finally reach my dream of motherhood. Thank you, Michaela! Before I tell you about the campaign, I’d like to share the story about how I came to believe this path was right for me…

I always saw motherhood as part of my life and who I was meant to be. I dated a lot in my 20s and into my 30s, but most relationships ended after a few months. I’m one of those women who decided when I was in my mid 30s that it was time to stop looking at every guy I dated as a potential father and co-parent. I had lived with two men and I think marriage was possible with a couple (different ones than those I lived with, oddly!), but I wasn’t mature enough at the time. Later, it just seemed like I had trouble meeting guys that I really clicked with – mentally, emotionally, and physically. During this time, around the age of 34, I did become pregnant with a boyfriend but it wasn’t viable and I had to induce a miscarriage.

When I got to my mid-30s, something else started clicking, or I should say ticking. I don’t remember when I first heard the term “SMC” or Single Mother by Choice, but once I knew about this brave and exciting new possibility, I read everything I could about it, from books to blogs and articles. I also researched fertility and how to track my cycle, which I began doing religiously. I met with the only Reproductive Endocrinologist in the Central California where I was living, but something happened – I'm not remembering what now – that really turned me off to him; something to do with missed timing, waiting a cycle, and money. I do remember he was a horrible listener and would launch into spiels of technical jargon, expecting me to follow along. When I look back now, I probably should have toughed it out with him. Maybe he would have discovered that I had fibroids or maybe he would have used better technology and medication when it would have mattered.

As it was, I switched to a very kind doctor, who held more of a holistic point of view and worked with a group of midwives. It was very woman-positive, which felt great, but in retrospect, I don’t think he had the required skill level. I did four IUIs with him, two with Femara, with no luck. Then, life through a curve ball and the non-profit where I worked closed doors. After looking for several months, I found a job and moved to the Bay Area.

Once I was settled, I began trying again…this time I used injectables, and discovered an underground black market of fertility medications that were being passed along at highly reduced prices by other sympathetic women who had achieved success. I remember thinking superstitiously that maybe using their medication would bring me success, too. No luck though.

I also started dating again and ended up meeting someone special with whom I became serious. Once committed, we immediately agreed that we were open to pregnancy. That was a fun few months. I really thought that something started a couple of times – in fact, I’m pretty sure it did. I had implantation cramping, spotting a couple of times, continued cramping like something was definitely happening…but then it would end in disappointment. After a year or so, we broke up and not long after, I tried another IUI on my own with a different doctor, injectables, and a different protocol. I was crushed again when it didn’t work.

Fast-forward to a few months later, the guy and I reunited and this time we decided to try IUIs together. We did two of them. It was during this time that the doctor said I had two large fibroids and one was twisting my cervix, making it like an obstacle course for sperm. Awesome! One was inside and one was just outside my uterus. He thought I could still get pregnant but that the pregnancy could become really uncomfortable/painful later on. I ended up deciding to get them surgically removed. Shortly before this scheduled surgery, the guy and I broke up again… aargh

The silver lining was that I had joined a leadership development program that lasted six months and supported me through this tough time. It also provided a safe container to really explore and look at my emotions and motivations to become pregnant. I stepped back from trying and just focused on my self and my friendships and community. I did some healing around a first pregnancy loss from my 20s and some anger and pain I still felt from that – from the fact that I couldn’t give myself what I needed at the time and that the guy I was with definitely couldn’t either. I mourned the loneliness and lack of support I experienced and forgave myself and him for being young, immature, and in survival mode.

When I finished that program, I went back to my regular routine, but gradually became aware there was still a void in my life. I felt I had much to give and was searching for meaning. I tried becoming a Big Sister and they rejected me because they felt I really wanted be a mom not a Big Sister (!). It was at this time that I began to consider adoption, when I hadn’t really felt open to that before. I wanted a child, in whatever way that child was meant to come into my life. My cousin had not long before then adopted a child internationally and I saw the joy that brought her. Two cousins on the other side of my family were adopted, as well.

I began to focus on the idea and signed up for the classes that are required to adopt through foster care. As I was finishing these, my landlord gave me sudden notice that he would be selling the house, which led to a period of transition, house-searching, and upheaval. Once I was settled into my new place, the ex came back into my life. This may sound crazy and you may be thinking, “Really? A third time?” but I had some buried pain and resentment about how we ended things before so it was really good to talk this through with him, and for him to apologize and make amends.

As we worked things through, we felt close again and decided on giving it a last try but shortly after, he actually became ill, so I helped him through his treatment… then, ironically, in part because of the frailty he felt with his illness, he ended up deciding that he did not want to become a father again. When he said this, it was clear our paths were no longer aligned. There were other issues we had, as well, but we were working on these and making good headway. When he got clear he didn’t want a child, I also felt clear that we are not right for one another. When you know it’s not right and it makes sense, even though it hurts, the ending is much easier.

When we broke up, I felt a fire lit under me – like, “Now is the time.” I began considering California Conceptions, which I had discovered a few years earlier. I felt strongly that this was the right way forward for me. I do feel that I am getting older, as well, and I don’t want to wait. I know it’s what I was meant to do and that I have a lot of love and creativity and attention to give a child – and much more maturity and groundedness than I did 10 or 15 years ago. I love my nieces and nephew very much, but they live in another state and I feel called to have my own child and be that one person who loves them unconditionally and is always there for them. I've been ready for a long time.

Which brings me to my request... Would you consider making a donation, at whatever level is comfortable for you, to help me reach my dream of becoming a mom? Or would you consider sharing this campaign with your friends? Perhaps with other mothers or couples who, like me, had to struggle with infertility or other obstacles to becoming parents. I am glad to offer career counseling packages to support you or a friend in your career transition or job search, or resume/cover letter editing, as reward and appreciation for donations of $50 or more. This program costs 12K for all three attempts. I am asking for help raising half that cost, or $6,000. I am confident I can contribute the other half myself. I would really like to start my family without going too deeply in debt, knowing I will need considerable resources as a new mom in the Bay Area.


A little more information about California Conceptions, if you’re interested...They are a donor embryo program that provides three attempts to become pregnant with healthy embryos. I consider it adoption from conception. I'm so excited to have the opportunity to become pregnant and nurture the child through a healthy pregnancy, as well as after they are born. IVF and adoption often cost 15K or more and are not guaranteed. About their success rate, which is a significant reason I’m excited:

"The California Conceptions Donor Embryo Program was founded in 2010, with the intent to offer a highly successful alternative to expensive fertility treatments and adoption...patients with a normal uterus will typically have such a high rate of success, we are able to extend a refund option. Hundreds of patients from across the US and the world have traveled to our program and been successful. In most cases, the three transfers result in a cumulative 95% rate of success. Searching the web for information about our program will turn up patient testimonials and success stories."

With Gratitude,

Kristina




Sunday, April 17, 2016

Just another ordinary day...sort of...2 years later...

Two years ago on April 15,2014, I got the call! The call that only seemed to be reserved for others. The call that after 5 years, an outstanding number of cycles, and a devastating number of losses...the call...the call that finally came and changed my life forever.

Two years ago today!! April 17,2014, I brought my daughter home!

Every day being this little girl's momma is infinitely better than any day that came before. Every day I go between it being a dream I pray I never wake up from to it being just another ordinary day as her mom .

Here's to many more ordinary days!


video






Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall

As my ability to post has fallen, I thought I'd share some pics of what Ladybug and I have been up to this fall!





Friday, September 11, 2015

Just another ordinary day...sort of...Part IV

In a New York minute...

I used to listen to that song and think...NOTHING changes...day in and day out...same old, same old...

On September 11, 2001...Just another ordinary day...people got up...people started their daily routine and then...

Everything changed...

 9-11 Memorial Video


 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ladybug is 2!!

Well that was a month ago! And my ability to post regularly has not improved!

But I will leave you with a few (okay many) of my favorite pics from her 2nd Birthday Photo Shoot!

God I love this kid!













Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Long Overdue Mother's Day Take 2...

One thing that has been blowing my mind lately is how fast time is passing. Remember in your teens and twenties...the concept of life passing you by was unimaginable. You just couldn't even picture yourself in your 40s (probably pretty much declaring you'd be dead by then! And never be THAT old!)...and then one day you wake up and BAM you are 40! And within what feels like a few months BAM you are in your mid 40s...and then...yikes!! I still have a few years but the way things are going...BAM!!

I can't not believe how fast time is flying...

I can't believe I haven't posted in 2 months! 2 months!! I am sorry!

And I can't believe how big my little girl is getting!

My little Ladybug has been home for over a year, she is turning 2 and I celebrated my 2nd Mother's Day with her!

It's really this 2nd Mother's Day that I want to post about (which I started writing 2 months ago!) and hopefully I will be posting more to catch you all up on Ladybug turning 2!!

But back to Mother's Day 2015...

It was a Mother's Day of days gone past. The one where we all showed up for brunch and enjoyed the food and a few mimosas as our children ran around and played. There were moms and grandmas, nieces and daughters...A day that in essence celebrates the women in my family and a day where I was (unbelievable!) one of the moms with my child running around and playing. The way I had always imagined before it faded away and became darkness.

Last year it was my first Mother's Day and I think that I was afraid to relax...to acknowledge...if I relaxed...if I let myself breathe it would all go POOF! Like breathing out, finally exhaling, would blow away all that was real and leave nothing but dust in its place...(I have a little confession to make...I still feel this way...that somehow, one day I will wake up and BAM...it all just vanishes.)

But aside from that fear...this year...this Mother's Day...now...

It's normal and simple.

It is as it should be...

ALMOST...

But just not quite....

Because as I sip my mimosa and adorn my daughter with loving looks there are other feelings, other emotions never far from the surface. A combination of love and pain...the love I feel for my daughter and the pain of all that transpired to get to this day...

There is another mom, one who I think about every day, who I am sure was not feeling the joys of this simple day but instead an ache that will never go away...

I do think of her every day. Her and Ladybug's birth grandma. They are never far from my thoughts...

We keep in contact. I send them updates every three months and they have also written to me.

At Easter Ladybug's birth grandma wrote me a letter...a beautiful letter declaring me the answer to their prayers...

I cried and replied:

”I have to tell you how moved I was by your last card. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you both and when you wrote that I was your prayer come true...well...I know in my soul it is the other way around. Somehow God found a way to bring us together."

And I do know in my soul, in the center of my being, that it IS the other way around.

I was at my mom's this weekend and she made a comment about miracles. About how she never really believed in them or thought they were just someone overcoming an illness or something. She said: "I never knew that a miracle could come in this form. This is a miracle! She is a miracle!"

Yes, she is...but the beauty of this miracle comes with heartache and so when I write to Ladybug's birth mom and birth grandma I make sure that I include them...it's hard to explain but they are and always will be a part of Ladybug's life whether they are present or not.  As an adoptive parent you are filled with insecurity and fear...I found by embracing that...embracing my fears...by embracing them and including them in our life...the fears have subsided and I can focus on doing what's right for my little girl...our little girl...

Ladybug is our girl...and I always refer to Ladybug as "our girl" in the letters I send.

So in my last letter I wanted them to know:

" ...on Mother's Day my thoughts, prayers, and gratitude were with you both!  You are never far from my thoughts and my heart. I want you to know that our girl will be honoring you both as well on Mother's Day. Please know we are thinking of you and as "Ladybug" gets older I will have her participate in the letter writing and picking out of the pictures...Our girl is truly a blessing! And I am so blessed to be her forever mommy!"

Mother's Day for me right now may be starting to feel normal...simple...or well as close to that as it can get...because there will always be another mom present on that day...one who needs to know that our girl will be honoring her too.



Friday, April 17, 2015

The day I met my daughter....

Like all the memories you could never forget...the emotions of them take over and details fall through the cracks.

But the feeling, that rush of magic...that rush of a dream come true...the rush of a love...a love so strong I can only relate it to a realm beyond earth.

Okay that's just corny and stupid! I am trying to find the words to express something that really is un-expressible and to do it without sounding like a total wingnut...it is just impossible!

Let's try this again...that rush of a dream come true...the rush of a love...

I will go back through the day as I remember it and hope I can give you a sense of what it is like to meet your daughter for the first time!

I got the "call" on April 15th. I brought my daughter home on April 17th. What happened April 16th I have no clue!! I know Sissy M came over and there was a trip to Babies R Us where we tried to get things we needed and I did something I never thought I would do...I registered! So that day was about getting diapers, bottles, crib sheets, changing pads and anything else we could think of...

April 17th 2014, I had to get to the adoption agency by noon, the foster mom was bringing my daughter to the agency at 1. We had 1 hour's worth of paperwork to fill out.

I knew in my soul that I needed to get the ladybug bracelets for the birth mom and grandma. That was so important to me to make sure they had them.

The store that I needed go to that had the bracelets opened at 10am. It was 20 minutes from my house.

So, the agency at noon which was over an hour away.  My BFF M2 was driving me and she was meeting me at my place at 10:45am.

Get to the store, buy the bracelets, get back by 10:45am because one thing you should know...M2 is ALWAYS ON TIME!!

BFF V is going to drive me to the store to get the bracelets. We don't have one minute to spare and I swear she is driving at the speed of at turtle!!

I get to the store minutes after it has opened and can you f'ing believe it...A LINE!! Apparently at 10am on Thursdays is the day everyone goes out to buy Alex and Ani bracelets! Who knew!

It was an excruciating 10 minutes before I could get my bracelets and then the snails crawl drive back...ughhh...of course BFF M2 is waiting for us.

We hop into her SUV and off we go. Now BFF M2 drives a lot faster so I was happy about that but before we even get into gear, BFF V from the backseat says to me "Don't move. Just don't move" and then says to BBF M2 "Do you have a tissue"

Me: "What! What! What is it??"

V: "Don't move!"

BFF M2 reaches into my hair, grabs something and throws it out her window and says: "I don't know what it was but it didn't start with the letter S"

She knows I am deathly afraid of spiders! And there was one (apparently a big one!) crawling in my hair.

Now we are finally off! And yes, BBF M2 was driving as fast as she could but every turn we took was met by slow drivers, 18 wheelers and dump trucks...it was un-fucking-believable.

And I am literally crawling out of my skin! Not only from the creepy crawler that was crawling in my hair but the anticipation, the stress of the drive, the fear of the unknown and the love that was filling my heart for my little girl...

Would she like me? Will she be scared? Will she cry? Will I be able to comfort her? (I still have these fears!)

We finally pull up to the agency. It's 12:30! My mom is already there and we are taken into a back conference room to go over all the paper work! My friends wait outside.

Let me tell you something folks...you have no idea what is a lot of paper work until you go through adoption...

Every piece of paper that needed to be signed was stacked in front of me and it felt like the stack NEVER went down!

I'm looking at the clock and then back at the stack, then at my mom, then at the social workers who are painfully going over every detail of every piece of paper...literally reading every word! Then back at the clock, my mom, the social workers, the papers...

1 o'clock has come and gone. It's now 1:15...1:20...1:30 and I know my daughter is here waiting...

At one point my mom had to run out to go to the bathroom, her excitement and anticipation was so great! She didn't want to hold anything up so she is rushing back not realizing she has buttoned and zipped the bottom of her shirt into her jeans!

Finally I am done with all the paperwork and I am taken into that small, little room that houses that small, little rocking chair with the afghan thrown over its back. I wonder how many adoptive parents sat in this chair before me creating their family!  And how many after...

Next to the rocking chair on a desk is mine and Ladybug's name spelled out in children's blocks with the date 4/17/14 and Congratulations! (I still have those blocks!)

FINALLY! FINALLY! FINALLY! Patricia the social worker brings my Ladybug in...and within moments Ladybug reaches her arms out to me. I pull her close and I knew in that moment that I would never let her go...forever!

And what's happened since that day...since  April 17th 2014! Here's a little snapshot!



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