Journey to Fertility

Our adoption homestudy was approved & we finally got everything done for our profile.

One of the agency’s media specialists worked her magic to put everything together into a pretty little profile that will be sent out to birth parents who match what we’re looking for as well as a version of it that will be published on the agencies website for birth parents to view.

We’ve also had one of the agency video camera’s for the last few weeks & have been working on getting various clips of us as a family to send in for another media specialist to turn into a professional looking 3 minute video of us.

I am really not thrilled about being forced to create a video for this. We feel incredibly awkward & uncomfortable in front of the camera as did our friends who participated in one of the “friend interviews” so I fear this video is going to portray us badly & do nothing more than work against us.

This whole thing being mandatory is apparently new for our agency. Our friends who went through them for their adoption 4 years ago never had to do this & even when I read the agency forums I see talk of people not being required to do this even a year ago, but for us it’s mandatory…. as is the $1,300 fee to go along with it.

I don’t know how much exposure we’re going to get either due to being gender specific for a boy but if we haven’t made a match in a couple months I’ll inquire for stats & see if any tweaks need to be made to our profile.

The agency put our written profile “active” on September 26th. So it’s been about 2 weeks now & we’ve heard nothing yet.

They do have a special “situations” page where they post available situations that they’re having trouble finding matches for. Sometimes it’s via 3rd party agencies or attorney’s who are posting it via our agency & in most cases the situations are available in Florida. This is great but at the same time it makes every one of these situations SUPER expensive. Apparently Florida doesn’t have a cap on how much can be charged for adoptions & I’ve heard sometimes they can even be as high as $70,000… That’s insane!!!

I do understand some of the reasons behind the increased fees since our agency has to get their cut & so does everyone else involved in making the match but $70,000 is ridiculous.

There is one on there currently which I inquired about but they still wanted $41,000 & even that is way above & beyond our budget.

They did tell us for the “agency assisted” program that we’re in (which means they will match us with a baby that is African American in full or in part) that our current budget which we have available is about average. So, I’m trying not to let the $41,000 situation freak me out too much because that is a “special situation” & not considered to be average.

Part of me fears we’re going to be waiting forever. That they won’t match us until we significantly increase our budget which we just can’t do or that no birth parent will find us appealing. I read the forums & see other people who were matched within just days of going active & others who’ve been waiting a year… sometimes two!!!

It’s hard not to let that get me down. I know everyone’s circumstances are different. I don’t know the reasons as to why their waits have been so long & I know that the baby who’s meant to be ours will end up with us when the time is right but I really don’t want to have to wait an incredibly long time for this to become a reality for us.

We’ve already been waiting for nearly 3 years! We had requested a fost to adopt placement of a baby boy back in California, when the girls were about 1-2 years old, but then we got orders sending us to Florida. We then pursued re licensing to foster to adopt here in Florida but then Roy got deployed. When he returned we decided to pursue infertility assistance instead, which then lead us back to adoption but this time we chose to go private instead of through the State.

I’m also terrified of the potential that’s there for disruption, meaning a match gets made & then the birth parent/s change their mind. I just pray if this does happen to us it happens before we invest our time & money into traveling to meet her. Before we ever meet & hold the baby.

Sadly, I’ve read a number of stories where adoptive families go through this sometimes multiple times. Where they go all the way to the hospital, are there in the room for the delivery, & are the first to hold the baby, only for the birth mom to change her mind at the last minute. How devastating!

I’m all for keeping families together when it’s for the best & if a mother truly believe she has what is needed to parent then she should if that’s what she wants but it just sucks that there’s no emotional protection for the adoptive family against this happening.

I suppose no matter which way it ends up going someone still ends up hurt. That’s just the nature of adoption.

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I’m absolutely honored, deeply flattered & extremely excited about this amazing opportunity. Even though I’ve been blogging for years I’ve never actually had my blog featured anywhere before so this is HUGE to me.

What’s more exciting is that not only will it direct new readership over to the blog but it will help promote discussion around this particular infertility topic, & since the whole Unicornuate Uterus condition is rather rare, I think this exposure will be awesome in raising more awareness about it. It will be good to hear back from others regarding their own stories, struggles & successes with it.

Thank you BlogHer!!!

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I haven’t mentioned much here lately about my ongoing uterine drama, but in one of the last posts regarding it all, I mentioned that my old hospital records arrived. One of those records, which was the results of an exploratory Laparoscopy checking for Endometriosis when I was 16, mentioned that there was some “fusing” of one of my fallopian tubes… however it never went into any more detail as to what exactly that meant. I just remember being told that I had a “tilted” uterus & no Endometreosis so there was nothing to be concerned about.

I scanned & emailed the results to my Reproductive Endocrinologist & about a week later got a call saying he could “fix” me by going in via a minimally invasive surgery called a Hysteroscopy and just open up the fused tube which would then make my uterus “normal”… making us then eligible for the IVF shared risk refund program.

I was mind blown & baffled, excited & yet disappointed. Why couldn’t he of called me with this news a week earlier before we’d sent over $1000 to this adoption agency for our homestudy to be done (which was non refundable whether we proceeded with having it done or not)?!?!

After much turmoil & discussion with Roy we decided to go on & get the surgery done if only so that I would have less painful periods & we would still continue on with our plans to adopt perhaps pursuing IVF down the road.

So, last week I went in for the Hysteroscopy & was given a short lil video of how it went, which I’ve modified slightly by adding a title & credits, and for those interested here it is:

Basically, he couldn’t “fix” me. Once he got in there with his camera it became clear that I do in fact have a very real Unicornuate Uterus with a Non Communicative Right Horn.

It looks like this:
When it should look like this:

As you can see, the “functional” area of my uterus in the first image is quite a bit smaller then the functional area of the second image (The Doctor says about 60-70% of the normal size). Because of this, it will likely take many pregnancies (and potential late term losses) before I’m able to carry anywhere close to full term.

This means we’re likely looking at multiple pregnancy losses before we would ever find success & even if I did manage to carry one to at least a viable term (Around 24 weeks), having a baby born that prematurely sets them up for all kinds of health issues (From March of Dimes):

“such as breathing problems, and even death. Most premature babies require care in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), which has specialized medical staff and equipment that can deal with the multiple problems faced by premature infants.

Premature babies also face an increased risk of lasting disabilities, such as mental retardation, learning and behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, lung problems and vision and hearing loss. Two recent studies suggest that premature babies may be at increased risk of symptoms associated with autism (social, behavioral and speech problems). Studies also suggest that babies born very prematurely may be at increased risk of certain adult health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.”

I know that I would completely blame myself if I brought a baby into this world knowing it probably wouldn’t make it even close to full term & they ended up with severe issues because of it. It would be like intentionally setting them up for a life of difficulties just to appease my own selfish desire of experiencing pregnancy.

Because of this, I feel that it’s very clearly something I’m not meant to do & I am trying to focus on it being a blessing that it’s proven to be so difficult (even possibly impossible) for us to conceive naturally (as in without intervention like IVF) due to our combination of fertility issues. If Roy had super healthy swimmers & I could get pregnant at the drop of a hat we’d probably of experienced so much trauma & loss by now.

I believe in God & I believe that through this we’ve actually been protected from far worse emotional struggle than that of simply not being able to conceive. I truly believe it’s less painful to never conceive than to conceive & experience the loss.

I’m also trying to focus on the blessing that I actually have both of my kidneys, & at full function, since this condition (although quite rare) commonly comes along with the lack of one due to the kidneys & uterus both developing at the same time.

I found out after an ultrasound, done during a post op appointment with my Reproductive Endocrinologist yesterday, that my non communicative horn doesn’t appear to be developing any lining so he doesn’t believe I’m menstruating from that side & therefor feels there is no need for an additional surgery to remove this horn. This too is excellent news, but I’m just hoping he truly is correct on this. I have my concerns due to the extreme pain level I have always had when I do menstruate that lead me to believe he just might be wrong….

So, for the most part, we now know what we’re dealing with & the direction we need to continue to move in is definitely that of adoption. The Doctor did suggest we consider finding a surrogate if having a biological baby is truly important to us, but the reality of it is that it’s not. What was important to me was the experience of pregnancy. Of feeling my child growing within me. I now know that this likely won’t & probably shouldn’t happen not just for our mental health but the long term health of the potential child we would bring into the world.

We’re moving on & counting our many other blessings instead, like our two amazing little girls that we have the privilege of raising & the baby boy whom we shall soon meet.

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As many of our readers already know we’ve been away in Canada for close to 2 weeks visiting my side of the family.

We’ve actually been home about a week already but it’s taken a little while for me to get settled back in to our typical routine due to a combination of being frazzled from our trip & the travel, plus getting things together for the girls return to preschool & also in preparation for our adoptive homestudy meeting that was held this past Saturday.

Despite my nervousness I think everything with the homestudy went rather well & the worker who did it for us said she should have it written up by the end of this week. She then has to forward it to her supervisor & it’ll go back & forth a few times fixing any details that need fixing but she expects it’ll be fully finished within 2 to 4 weeks.

So, while we’re waiting for that to get finished up we’re working on getting the last little things together for our adoptive family profile in hopes that it will be done & ready to go around the same time frame. If it is, then in about 4 weeks or so, we’ll become “active” with our agency & our profile will begin being circulated to birth parents that match what we’re looking for.

We’re pretty open regarding a lot of things but some key features that will limit us a bit are our desire for a boy & our unwillingness to take on a child born with significant special needs or from a family background that has certain medical conditions. Unfortunately, we’ll only know what the birth parents are willing to disclose which adds another risk we take on our end as we pursue this.

Roy & I both suspect we’ll meet our little one before Christmas though, so here’s hoping our suspicions ring true!

Our trip to Canada unfortunately didn’t go quite as well as we’d hoped it would but it was still nice to see everyone & especially good for the kids to have the opportunity to create more extended family memories.

Family has always been something that is greatly important to me which is why, despite my distance, I still make the effort to go back & visit as much as possible. I am especially close to my grandmother who raised me & talk or Skype with her on a regular basis as well.

The past 8 and a half months have been rather difficult for the majority of my family unfortunately. There’s been a couple of deaths, a couple of job losses, a pending divorce, & numerous moves. Roy was still in Iraq until mid February. My gallbladder decided it no longer wished to be a part of me resulting in the need for urgent surgery. There was the blow to Roy & I back in May as we further investigated our fertility situation, plus other things I may have forgotten to mention. My point however, is that each & every one of these things has caused significant distress to pretty well each & every member of my family in one way or another & the tension during our trip was pretty high.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy but it ended up being a little more uncomfortable than I’d anticipated. I know that everyone has banded together to be supportive for one another as they’re able, but when trauma & hard times affect every single member the emotional exhaustion that goes along with it leaves little left for continuing to hold up those around, especially for those who can barely hold up themselves.

Of course everyone handles things differently. We all had our good moments & our less than stellar ones, but for me personally, I repeatedly found myself wondering why we didn’t just reschedule things to a later date when things weren’t still so raw & fresh. Healing from each of these things takes time… sometimes a lot of it. I’m a fan of peace & harmony & due to the circumstances it was just difficult to find much of that during this trip.

Still, there were some good times & many photo ops. I just hope the memories that were made by the kids were those of fun & family bonding.

Memories of Camping, Go-Karts & Mini Golf…

Pony rides, Hay rides, & baby cows that suck fingers…

Swimming, Water parks, the Ocean, Boat rides & more!

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I honestly didn’t think the 2 Canadian hospitals that I requested records from would still have them being that the procedures I had done at them were 11-15 years ago but they both still had them & mailed them out to me upon my request.

There was a bit of a delay in getting them due to a Postal strike going on in British Columbia (not sure if it effects all of Canada but do know it’s been effecting all of BC).

Anyways, I received the first set of reports a few weeks ago but there was really no new info concerning the condition of my uterus on those reports. Yesterday however, I received the reports from the second hospital & read that there was in fact an issue but no one ever bothered to share this with me….

It reads:

 The pelvis was examined in it’s entirety. The uterus anterior and posterior cul-de-sacs, broad ligaments, uterosacral ligaments all appeared normal. The left fallopian tube and ovary and round ligament appeared normal. On the right-hand side, the round ligament and fallopian tube appeared fused for approximately 2cm lateral to the right horn of the uterus. The fimbriated end of the right fallopian tube appeared normal and the right ovary appeared normal. There was no evidence of scarring or endometriosis.

So I have no idea what this actually means other then the term “fused” to me means blocked which would explain why the dye being flushed into my uterus during my HSG test only flowed through the left side & not the right, but does this mean I do or do not have a Unicornuate Uterus now? Does it mean it can be fixed somehow? Does it mean my chances for carrying a child to term are higher if this is not actually a Unicornuate Uterus issue?

It says everything other then the fusing of the right fallopian tube appeared normal, so to me that also means the size of my uterus is normal rather then half the size of normal as described by having a Unicornuate Uterus. So this really raises a lot of questions.

At the same time I hate that now that I had myself convinced that pregnancy just wouldn’t be the best idea & moved onto adoption that this new found info suddenly arrives making me question everything. Life’s just like that though which reminds me of a favorite quote of mine that goes:

Life is what happens while we’re making other plans.

And isn’t that just the truth?

I’m so thoroughly confused now. I feel a bit angry too. I just wish this all could make sense & that we had a clear direction of what we’re supposed to do. To understand clearly what our situation is & be able to make a solid educated decision which I thought is what we had done but then BAM, this info arrives & makes me question everything.

Perhaps it’s my own fault though. Perhaps if I’d just been more patient & awaited the answers to come in then I wouldn’t be so confused about it all right now. I sort of felt that we did have the answers though & really didn’t think we’d get anywhere or find anything with these old hospital records.

I do feel at this point that we’ve already initiated the adoption process too far & invested too much financially to pull back & switch courses yet again. So I don’t think we will, but depending what the answers are to my new questions about my uterus, perhaps we still can leave the option of one day trying to conceive on the table?

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