baby development

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Julie's Licensed Ya'll!! Bring On The Kid-os!

Hey Julie - Congratulations girl!! You rock - the paperwork is tough to get through. Now we all wait for you to get a placement. The fun is just beginning.

The FUNNIEST Baby Experience To Date

My husband has been home sick with the sick baby for two days now as they have bonded and suffered their sinus and ear infections together.

I arrived home last night around 5:45 to find my beautiful husband and foster-daughter sitting together on the livingroom sofa enjoying the early evening news. As is my fashion, I walked over and kissed them both and scooped up Sugar Cookie into my arms and greeted her and got my daily dose of baby grins.

I made myself comfortable with the baby on the sofa across from my husband and we settled down to watch the evening news and chat about what we wanted for dinner. I bounced Sugar Cookie on my thighs and she "stood" and did little dances of joy between little squeals of "oh my ear hurts mommy" - which is sounds like "mwahahbwaahaaaaaaa", but you get the point.

After several minutes of this, I went to pull her close to me for a hug, and I put one hand on her back and my right hand under her bottom, and I felt wetness.

"Oh Michael, she's wet!", I exclaimed.
"She can't be, I just changed her."
"Well, maybe she sprung a leak.", I suggested.

As I got up to take her upstairs, I saw brown emerging from between the legs of the footie sleeper she was dressed in.

"Eeeew! There's poop coming out too!"
Of course, I had to hold her up to show it to Michael, who was sitting on the sofa in disbelief and proffering suggestions as to how her might have gotten the diaper on crooked or something.

I walked upstairs with Cookie doing my usual sing-songy "Who's stinky? Are YOU stinky?" Cookie squealed with delight, and as I placed her on the changing table I saw just how wet and brown her sleeper was on the outside. I figured she had done quite a number and it had just gushed out the sides.

As I unbuttoned her jammies, all I saw was a naked baby, pee, and poop.

There was NO DIAPER. Just a peachy beige naked baby.

Well, I started to laugh, and then baby started to kick her legs in excitement in response to my amusement. I laughed so hard snot came out of my nose, and I was worried I was going to pee my pants. I called for Michael to "come help me" and to share in my amusement.

As he laid eyes on the sight of the baby, it clicked.

"I forgot to put a diaper on her?"

"YEAH!", I hollered through bursts of laughter. I could hardly breathe.

"Oh hun, you ARE tired!"

Poor Michael was enbarassed beyond imagination and proclaimed himself stupid. I made sure to correct him.

"No hun, you're not stupid. It's funny. I was the very best part of my whole day."

That was the truth. It is by far the funniest thing that has happened with the baby. I hope one day we get to tell her this story when she's older and can truly appreciate her father's funnier side.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Cookie's First Ear Infection

It seems like a strange thing to document, but as I am so far horrible about putting together Cookie's lifebook and pretty good about maintaining the blog, at least I can record event here to scrapbook later.

Last week, I was sick. I was very, very sick - sore throat, cough, stuffy, achy, (whiny) - later this led to the lovely coughing up of green goo. Disgusting. Michael got it over the weekend, and we thought the baby had a pretty mild case of a cold and low grade fever. Until this morning...

Michael had graciously stayed up with Cookie so I could get some sleep. We knew she didn't feel good because she was fussy all weekend and a bit lethargic. Before I left I wanted to hold her and cuddle her for a while, but when I picked her up, she was so hot. I popped in her pacifier-thermometer (those are awesome, by the way), and it was 101.4. I just squirted some baby Tylenol in her mouth while Michael thew on some sweats, and then he rushed her to the pediatrician's office.

Diagnosis - ear infection. Ugh. Michael picked up her prescription for an antibiotic and then took her back home. He's a good dad for being willing to do all that so I could finally come in to work (I was out sick Thursday and Friday coughing up a lung).

I feel awful for her, but I am glad to know she doesn't have something worse.

This explains why she woke up every time we tried to lay her down in the crib - the pressure on her ears while lying down was too painful. So, guess she'll just have to sleep on top of us on the sofa for a few nights. Poor Cookie.

She's still beautiful.

Oh, and the Hepatitis C test came back negative - Praise the Lord. She had about a 5% chance of contracting it from her birthmom, and there is no cure, so we are so relieved and thankful.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Congratulations Pajama Mama!

Just wanted to give a holler and a "Thank You, Lord" for another adoption finalization day. What great news this is:

Free Stuff for Babies/Children

Here is a list of free stuff I put together when my husband and I were taking our MAPP training classes for foster care. Michelle over at "My Chosen Child" posted about some free things, and I remembered I had this list saved on my computer. Hope this helps. I've done all of these, and received everything I requested.

Hey, ya'll - join in. Anyone else have cool "free stuff" sites that really work?

Free “Baby Dream” Growth Chart

Free Sample of Bright Beginnings Baby Formula

Baby Tooth Chart

Beechnut – Free Bib

Beechnut – Free Bowl

Free Printable Child ID page

Free Child Safe Kit

Send Away for a Free Kit to Child-Proof Your Mini-Blinds

Address for Free Safety Brochure

Free Kit on Teaching Your Child Abduction Safety (from Polly Klaas Foundation)

Free Pampers Kit with Coupons

Potty Power!
You can even download MP3s of songs to play to potty train, including (I am not making this up) “Tinkle, Tinkle, You’re a Star”

Print out potty training charts!

Print out potty training certificates!
Free Potty Training Kit from Charmin

Gerber – register to get a packet of coupons

Freshsacks – Get a Free Trial of Diaper Disposal Bags

Free Circus Ticket for Baby from Ringling Brothers

Just for Fun – Your Baby’s Astrological Profile

Print out this Free Ruler to Tell Your Child’s Shoe Size

Print out a Free Personalized Coloring Book!

Print out Free Customized Chore Charts for Your Child
I love this one – you get to completely customize it for your house!

Free Printable Graphics to Stimulate Your Baby

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

By October 1, 2006?

In 6 months we could be forever parents to Sugar Cookie. That estimate came from Cookie's social worker on her monthly visit last to our home last night. Needless to say, I was pleasantly shocked. I'm also realistically skeptical. R. said she has never has an adopion of a child in foster care finalized before their first birthday, so the speed at which Cookie's case runs could be a first for her. But this case is perhaps as "tidy/messy" as they come with Biodad incarcerated for at least 9 years and Biomom badly addicted (as if there is a good addicted) to cocaine. No relatives could be approved mainly because of their own history with the state and the law. Everything now rests in the hands of the judge, God, and time.

R. is putting together the 161 packet. The deadline for completion of that and submission to the court is May 15th, but R. could do it herself and have it finished before then. She says it may come down to that since she is so familiar with the case and it is a relatively simple process. The case will be presented to the judge in closed quarters, and he will decide right then and there on the termination of parental rights. If that is approved, we wait another month to see if there are any appeals from the Bioparents. If not, our family will be moved to yet another worker who handles all of the adoptions from foster care in our area. She will have to put together a whole new set of paperwork on us, and then there is another month wait. A lot will depend on her speed as well.

It would be nice to be forever parents by Christmas, 2006. We got such a wonderful gift in getting Suagr Cookie on December 22nd. It would be great to have the ink dry by this Christmas and be her forever family.

Of course, R. stressed that anything could happen. She has to tell us that - it's her job and I'm glad she's honest.

My parents are reserved, yet hopeful. I finally got up the nerve to ask them if they hadn't asked about coming up to meet Sugar Cookie because they were afraid of falling in love with her, only to have her taken away. Mom admitted that they were very afraid and that even seeing pictures is hard on them. Selfishly, I wanted to scream "Hard on you? Hard on YOU! Geez, grow some cahones! Take a risk! Every month you waste in meeting her is a month you miss of getting to see her grow up. What if you completely miss the first year of her life before you meet her?" But I didn't. I said I understood. In a way I did, and in a lot of ways I don't. We didn't turn down placements of children in our home because we were afraid they would leave - and they did leave. And more may come and leave one day again. But we took the risk, and it has been more than worth it. People tell us all the time that they couldn't be foster parents because "[I] couldn't handle it when they left." Well, yes you can. You cope. You regroup, mourn the loss of that child in your home, and rejoice and celebrate what you and the child gained.

Would it be hard if Sugar Cookie had to leave one day? Oh, hell yes! Would be grieve? More than is possible to describe. Would we live and still pursue fostering to adopt? Undoubtedly, yes. Last year, more than 700 children were adotped in Kentucky from foster care alone. About 80% of those adoptions were by the foster parents. Yeah, I like our chances. I like knowing I can save one child from a life of violence, crime, and abuse. I like knowing one more child is safe today, and will be tonight. Cookie is enjoying the good life. The joy in watching that is, well, ...

I can only recall singing a hymn in church when I was growing up that I am just now beginning to understand. It went like this:

"It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, full of glory, full of glory.
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, oh the half has never yet been told."

The half has never yet been told. Yup, the story's not even half over. God has a whole lot more to reveal to us.

I've been thinking about those of you linked from this site, and how I've truly come to care about what God is doing in your families. I pray more about people I've never met, and it has been wonderful to see how closely aligned our experiences are. We wait on news regarding bioloigical parents, visitations, court dates, and pediatric appointments. Some of us wonder about peeing on a stick "one more month" or seeing a reproductive endocrinologist "just once more", or trying IUI "just one more round" would be worth it. Some of you have adopted children and face new parenting challenges that I won't face for years down the road. I'm taking mental notes. It is no accident that our paths have crossed in this medium - there would have been no other way. I think of all of you out in Texas (or about to move to TX) and wonder how on earth I could come to know so much about you all the way over here in Kentucky. God sent me to your stories to better understand my own circumstances, or to encourage me to take the actions I was afraid to take on my own.

Now, I often write something knowing someone "out there" may be led here to my little site in blogland and be encouraged, uplifted, or just sense that they are not alone. Our story isn't all that unique - it has elements of all of your stories. I'm glad God gave me the strength to write about even the difficult things, and my many weaknesses.

So - 6 months. Even if it doesn't happen by October 1st, every day we live is one day closer we get to fulfilling our purpose on this planet. I mean, how cool is that? Even as I have put off my "work-work", I have fulfilled a bit of my calling. Yes, Lord!

Monday, March 20, 2006

We Made It Through 2 Years, Sweetheart

Yup, today is our 2-year wedding aniversary. I wish I had something eloquent, witty, or charming to write about. But instead I will be simple in honor of my husband, who is (most of the time) a man of few words. Here are a few of my unorganized, rushed workday thoughts on my second aniversary:

Most of the time, Michael and I truly like each other. While this might not sound "romantic", it is one of the best reasons to be married to someone. I cannot think of many other people who would be willing to spend so much time with me without wanting to strangle me. Thank you, hun, for putting up with me.

Michael and I (so far) make a good parenting team. We take turns caring for the children that have been in our home, and we agree on steps we take regarding our latest addition to our family. Sugar Cookie has a fantastic dad who plays with her, feeds her, talks to her, cuddles with her, changes her poopie diapers, and watches basketball with her - what more could a 3 month old (happy 3 month birthday, Cookie!) want?

My husband is the most intelligent man I have ever known. It is an honor to be married to someone and not worry about when the next time will be that he does something stupid.

My husband is sexy - downright, drop-dead goregous, knock your socks off sexy. I remember making my female friends gather around and listen to a voice message he had left me because I was convinced that even his voice was sexy. They all agreed it was, and simultaneously agreed I had taken leave of my mind. To this day he gives me chills. I get to be married to an incredibly sexy man who also does not spend much time looking in the mirror or having an inflated ego. Hot damn he is fine.

If I were to die on the way home tonight, everyone can rest assured that I have truly, madly, deeply, with all I have and all I will be - LOVED someone. Never before have I willingly made so many sacrifices that seemed small in exchange for living a life with a great person you truly love. Wow.

Michael has never once complained about anything I do. Never. It is as amazing to me as it probably sounds to you.

Michael has many flaws. The nice thing is that he knows he has them, and actively tries to become a better person. He knows that I have flaws too, and encourages me to become a better person as well.

We have a long ways to go before we have a marriage that I would consider "wonderful". It is rocky, bumpy, stressful, and frustrating sometimes. But there are nice times too - apparently enough to keep us coming home at night, keep us apologizing when we hurt each other or when we screw up, and keep us thinking about the future. I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't what a "wonderful" marriage is really all about - not a fantasy "oooh, it's so perfect", but an "I take you and all the crap too" kinda wonderful. Marriage is hard, agonizing and gut-wrenching at times - (especially if you attempt to accomplish anything truly worthwhile as a couple) - and anyone who tells you that their marriage isn't either hasn't been married long enough...or lies.

It's getting better. Year 3 is gonna kick butt, hun - just you wait and see.

I love you, Michael.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Thanks Again, PCOS

I have to write about this. I recently went to the dermatologist and got an interesting diagnosis - aggravated by PCOS. If you bear with this post until the end, I'll get to the point.

While there are many symptoms of PCOS, I am blessed to have more than my fair share. Those that I have that have been scientifically demonstrated to have a connection to PCOS are as follows:

Irregular/sparse menstrual cycles - mine began at age 14, and I've never had more than 8 a year without being on the pill. Since being on Metformin for a year, I have only missed 2 cycles.

Infertility - without ovualtion, this is a no-brainer. I had my first ovarian ultrasound, which showed numerous cysts. I could try a procedure called "ovarian drilling" - yup, drilling. Or not. I vote "not".

Weight gain - At age 16, I was 5'5" and weighed 150. Now at almost-35, I am 100 lbs. heavier. Even with South Beach and Weight Watchers, I am lucky to be able to loose one pound a week with strict dieting. Even so, I should go back.

Depression - yup, diagnosed at age 25 and treated off and on ever since - currently "stable" (evil wicked laugh) on Effexor and having the best clinical results I've ever had despite the blow of infertility.

Acne - oh boy, this is an emotional one for me. At age 14, I started seeing a dermatologist - Retin A, pills, etc. throughout college. Once I was married, I couldn't afford treatments, so I endured adult acne. Birth control pills made it tolerable. Getting off the pills last year made my facial breakouts painful - huge subcutaneous cysts along my neckline that lasted for weeks. The infections under the skin made my lymph nodes enlarge and actually caused low-grade fevers that just made me feel weak enough to not have energy. I have a little scaring from the 20 years of dealing with breakouts and occasional cysts.

Allergies/asthma - new findings related to this area in the medical literature lately - I have terrible allergies, and asthma attacks can be controlled if I keep the allergies in check.

Excess body and facial hair - oh yeah, nothing says "sexy" like a hairy beast of a woman. I am part Greek, part Hungarian (as well as a few other things thrown in for good measure). I have always considered the black hair on my legs that must be shaved daily and the thick dark brown hair on my arms and my "unibrow" that must be tweezed and my Brooke Shields eyebrows to be genetic/ethnic. I did nothing extraordinary until there were commercials on TV for products like Epi-Stop and Nads. All of these ads showed women removing the hair from their arms! I had never known about this phenomenon until I had enough money to get my hair cut at good salons. Eventually, stylists asked if I had considered waxing my arms. I must admit, my feelings were a bit hurt. I began to examine the arms of fellow females more closely, and much to my disappointment, few had as much arm hair as I did.

When I was about to get married, one of my bridesmaids asked if I was going to remove the hair from my arms because I was wearing a sleeveless dress. Um, I hadn't considered it. I decided to go for it. I sat through painful waxing of my arms by an incompetent waxer-woman only to discover that arm stubble is worse than dark fuzzy hair any day. The pinkness went away in time for the wedding, and I couldn't get used to my baby-butt smooth arms.

Now, for years I have been tweezing hair from my face. I've been tweezing from the time I was a teenager and cared about excess facial hair and big eyebrows. As an adult, I began to have to tweeze hair on my chin. For the last 5 years, the hairs have gotten thicker and darker and grow fast. Every morning, after showing I would sit in front of my makeup mirror and tweeze hairs out of my chin and a few along the neck. It would take no less than 10 or 15 minutes every morning. If I went on vacation, I had to pack tweezers so as not to sprout thick man-hairs on my chin that were long enough to be clearly seen at a distance.

Now comes the dermatologist trip I mentioned:

Last month, I developed no less than 8 subcutaneous cysts along my jaw-line. I treated with every product imaginable (Pro-Active, etc.). Nothing worked and they got worse. My lymph nodes were swollen and I felt miserable (and incredibly embarrassed). I went to my GP, who referred me to a dermatologist. My GP suspected the hormone shifts and my endocrine system had gone all wonky. He was wrong (in a way).

The dermatologist talked to be briefly as I explained my PCOS and treatment and my GP's "best guess". He put on the big mega-goggles and closely examined my chin. He rolled his chair back and sternly asks, "Do you pluck your facial hair?" I replied, "Of course I do, I look like a man otherwise!" (hyperbole intended) He went on to explain that he thought I did not have acne per-se, but rather had developed a...(drumroll please)...resistant facial infection. Niiiiice, real nice. He took a culture of the spots on my face, and started to write a prescription. I then told him that the reason my GP had referred me if because I am trying to conceive and I can't take just any old antibiotic. The dermatologist pokes fun at me for being "difficult" (I actually liked his table-side manner a lot), and writes a prescription for Brevoxyl and says he'll call with the lab results on my face. For the time, I was to discard all washcloths and makeup brushes that touch my face and buy all brand new ones. I was also scolded for "scratching and picking at" my face. (Um, heloooooo - it itches!!) Out I went to buy new supplies.

The tests came back - it was a resistant bacterial infection that had gotten under my skin probably due to tweezing. Plucked hairs leave open follicles and wham-o, ugly little germs take up residence therein. I was mortified. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic specific to skin infections. Of course, what happened after 10 days on that? Yep, it killed all the "good bacteria" that live in my coochie snorcher, and it hurt to pee for another week. Clear skin, painful tootie cat. Lovely. I was a mess.

The Brevoxyl wasn't covered by my insurance (of course not - what IS covered these days?). It cost $73 for a freakin bottle of what amounted to this: a 4% Benzoyl Peroxide face was. Yes, a face wash. I got some from for $12. Then I discovered that you can get a few brands at Wal-Mart that are 10% Benzoyl Peroxide for about $5. I've stocked up. Germs beware.

But here is the most lovely thing: I am forbidden from plucking or tweezing. - ever again. Yah. And the hair is awful. The only thing I am allowed to do is shave with a sterile razor. Yes world, I am shaving my chin and upper lip every morning. I also have to shave between my eyebrows in order to avoid the uni-brow. I cannot wax or use chemical removers because all leave the follicle open.

So now what? I go back next month to be sure the infection is gone, and then...

I will have to do laser hair removal. Yup. They will zap my face and kill the hair (and probably a few brain cells too *grin*). Of course, insurance will not cover that either, and the dermatologist believes it will probably take 3 or 4 sessions. The sessions are $150 each for just my chin. Since that is the really bad part, that is what I will try first.

PCOS has done so many crazy things to me, and a part of me remains frustrated that no physician put two and two together before now - especially since about 5% of all women will develop it. And I had never heard of it before I was diagnosed. It my new GP about 10 minutes into the first visit to come to the conclusion that the ultrasound he ordered just confirmed. I guess when I rattled off the list of things I am treated for, it wasn't too tough.

As if infertility and trying to convince your husband to baby-dance with you when you aren't really in the mood isn't bad enough...try doing it with a facial infection.

Thanks, PCOS. I really needed this.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Ladies and gentlemen, we have the results of today's court appointment:

Sugar Cookie's goal has now been officially changed to adoption. Her social worker just called me and told me the news - she was thrilled. She will now have 60 days from today (until May 15th) to get the 161 packet together (I have no idea what that is) and show that we have petitioned for termination of parental rights.

Interestingly enough, that is 4 days before my 35th birthday (the day I had promised myself that if I did not have a child by that point, I would seek to adopt). Amazing.

So - you want to know what is going on with Biomom, don't you. Well, folks, she needs a lot of prayer. She was not in court today because she was ordered by her probation officer to inpatient. Her worker says she has never had someone court ordered to inpatient, so it must be bad. I cannot fathom her situation. R. said this means she will not have any more visits with Sugar Cookie until she is out of drug treatment - which could be a while.

Of course, you know there has to be at least one hitch in the giddy-up (whatever that means). Biomom's sister did come to court this morning to complain about being turned down to take the baby. Apparently the investigator disapproved her because she "did not have enough room" (not sure what that means, exactly). R. said she would respond to the complaint, but wasn't worried because the investigations are pretty systematic and objective. I just want to know where this sister was when the other two siblings were adopted last year - but maybe she was disapproved then, too. Who knows.

So, all we will be doing now is sitting back and trying to relax for the next 60 days before gearing up for another court date.

Life is interesting, isn't it?

Sugar Cookie will be 12 weeks old tomorrow. She's doing just great. She rolled over for the first time yesterday and you'd have thought I won the lottery I was so excited. Little things are so very cool.

I think we will try to get away this weekend (with the baby) and praise God and go sit in a hottub in a suite somewhere in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg.

Whew! The adrenaline is flowin', friends.

Friday, March 10, 2006

New Foster-to-Adopt Blog

Hi friends - I just found a nice new blog with a great story. You might want to check it out:

It's called "Little Did I Know".

Thursday, March 09, 2006

When The Narrative Shatters

Before I got married this time around, I went to counseling by myself to deal with some grief and loss issues. In one session, after crying and complaining, the counselor looked at me and said,

"You really don't deal with disappointment well."

My sarcastic mind shouted, "YOU are F-ing BRILLIANT!"
But my mouth said, "No, I don't."

There was a joke that my step-grandfather used to love, and it goes like this:

A man falls from the top of a very high building and lands splat on the pavement below.
Quickly a crowd of passersby gather around the man to check on his condition.
In an instant, the man jumps up, brushes himself off and looks around with a bit of cunfusion at the people who had gathered.
One of the passersby yelled out to him, "Hey man, what happened?"
The man replied, "I don't know. I just got here myself."

You might not find that funny, but grandpa would laugh hysterically whenever he would tell it.

I doubt many of us take disappointment well. Seldom do we jump right up, brush ourselves off, and forget about the trauma that just transpired. If you're like me, you rather enjoy playing the martyr and wallowing in self-pitty for a while. You want others to feel sorry for you and your pathetic situation. You want people to know how you have endured the slings and arrows. Yes, Hamlet, conscience does make cowards of us all.

My blogger buddy, sster, recently noted the shattered narrative and how painful that could be when all you had authored of the future for yourself and your family turns to rubble, sometimes in the blink of an eye. This week, she wrote about packing up the physical manifestations of that shattered narrative.

A young woman who is in my small group at church recently faced disappointment with her interview to be commissioned after getting her MA and preparing to be ordained. She wrote the following:

My team leader on the B.O.M. called me around 6:00 pm today. The good news: I was given the "green light" by the committees on Call and Personal Growth and Development. The bad news: I was "continued" by the committees on Theology and Practice of Ministry. Bottom line: I don't get commissioned this year. Next year I can re-apply for probationary membership, although I'll only have to submit the papers and do the interviews for Theology and Practice. I should receive about five pages in feedback, which will help me in preparing for next year...

I'm reminding myself that this isn't the end of the world. Several people are "continued" every year. And part of this is my fault...I obviously didn't put my best foot forward in the applicable papers/interviews, or I would have been approved. Jeremiah 29:11 continues to be my mantra

She's a fantastic young woman who makes sure in the end to remind herself what parts of her situation she is responsible for, and what she isn't. And - she's keeping the faith. She knows the long road ahead.

What I find particularly uplifting is this:

Here is a woman who has dedicated her life to preaching and teaching the Word of God. Yet, in her move of ultimate faithfulness, she faces disappointment. It would be easy for her to throw her arms up in the air and say, "See, I knew I wasn't supposed to do this. God has let me down. The Methodist church stinks! I give up. I knew I should have gotten my MBA instead. At least then I could have made some real money instead of suffering like this."

Nope, she trusts. She's already planning for next year - the very next day after she got the disappointing news.

I so relate because I detest “closed doors” – I want to see what’s behind them (and the next one, and the next one). It is so hard when our chosen narrative that we’ve written up for our own lives doesn’t quite match up to the one God has written up for us – after all, our narratives are fabulous – WE came up with them.

The “why” of these disappointing turns in our lives may or may not be revealed in the future. We might end up somewhere fabulous at some point in the future and know without a doubt that IF we had gotten the narrative we had drawn up for ourselves, we would not be where we are now (then). Or, we may never know.

Another fellow blogger wrote about infertility and noted that her husband had said he realized that infertility was the greatest gift God could ever have given him – because of what it brought him in the end (their two adopted boys). I’m not there yet and don’t know many people who are. I hope one day I am at complete peace with infertility and the roller coaster ride of fostering-to-adopt.

But I'm giving myself permission to not deal with disappointment well. If I did, I don't think I'd give a rat's ass about much of anything. "I care, therefore, I am disappointed."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

One Sentence Per Year

This is cool. Here’s how it works:
For each year of your life, you write a sentence. That’s it! Number one will be a sentence about something that happened your first year of life. Number five will be something that happened during your fifth year of life. Got it?? Your sentence can be as complex or simple as you’d like.
Oh, and if you participate, leave me a link, I’d LOVE to read whatever transpires!! And if ya'll don’t participate voluntarily, I’ll start tagging your a's and haunting you!

1. I was born at exactly one minute before midnight. (1971)

2. I sang publically in church for the first time. (1972)

3. My grandmother worked with me to learn to read from and memorize scriptures from the Bible. (1973)

4. For our church Christmas eve service, I recite Luke 2 in its entirety - from memory. (1974)

5. My mother yanks me out of a Baptist pre-school because the teacher slapped me. (1975)

6. I spend my days with my grandmother, who teaches me everything I ever needed to know about life and becomes my best friend. (1976)

7. My mother announces she is pregnant and I ask for a baby sister. (1977)

8. My baby brother is born (I said I wanted a sister!), my grandfather died, and my hometown faced the worst hurricane it had ever faced and we lived without electricity for a long time on my gradnmother's back porch. (1978)

9. I begin doing second grade in the morning and third grade in the afternoon - because it was not permissible to "skip a grade" in our school system. (1979)

10. I realize that I am very different than most kids, and that most kids didn't like me very much. (1980)

11. I begin being bussed one day a week to a different school where I could be in the "gifted education" program. I like it more than I've ever liked anything in school before. (1981)

12. I take my first bus to school - for Middle 6. The bus creeps me out and seems dirty and smelly. I beg mom to drive me, which she does whenever she can. (1982)

12. I was in the 7th grade and had my first real boyfriend - Jason. I learn about monsters that live among us when his sister was brutally raped and murdered, and he was never the same again. (1983)

13. I was in 8th grade and attend my first dance, much to my parents' dismay. I remember dancing to Careless Whisper (1984)

14. I get mono so bad that I almost have to repeat the 9th grade. This is the first year that kids I know in school die from drug overdoses. (1985)

15. I start high school (10th grade) and loose my virginity against my will to my then-boyfriend who date-raped me. (I must write about my process of recovery at some point in the future.) I stay with him for a year because I saw myself as "used goods" that no other man would ever want. (1986)

16. I leave high school after 11th grade and start college in May. My mother has to drive me to my first college class that summer because I had not yet turned 16. She sits in the car in the parking lot - far away from the building so my classmates wouldn't notice. (1987)

17. I fall "in love" with a French Horn player named Keith. (1988)

18. I get my AA degree and move to Gainesville, FL to go to UF (go Gators!) (1989)

19. I study at the Universidad Autonoma de Yacatan, taking courses in Anthropology and Spanish. (1990)

20. I graduate with my BA degree from UF in August and start my MA program there two weeks later. Keith and I break up. (1991)

21. I change majors in the middle of my MA - to Counselor Education. (1992)

22. I drop our of grad school, take a job as a secretary, and marry a complete looser named Brian who had no education or ambition to speak of. My parents send me to counseling because they think I am very screwed up. I tell them for the first time that I was date raped, and by whom. We never talk about it again. (1993)

23. I move to Memphis to finish my MA. My car is stolen, there is a shooting in our apartment complex parking lot, and my then-husband is mugged. I vow to never live in Memphis again. (1994)

24. In an attempt to self-sabotage, I have an affair, yet still I manage to finish my MA in Communication from the University of Memphis, missing a 4.0 by 1 B+. (1995)

25. I move to Denver, Colorado to begin work on my PhD in Communication at the University of Denver. I fall in love with the city and in hate with my dissertation director. I am diagnosed with clinical depression, and am relieved to discover I am not crazy. (1996)

26. I spend the majority of my time writing, attending conferences, and trying to publish as much as humanly possible. (1997)

27. My then-husband decided he wants a divorce and moves back to FL to live with his sister - but he returns a few months later. (1998)

28. I interview at 5 places and accept a faculty position at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA. (1999)

29. I decide to end my marriage. In November, I attend an annual professional conference where I run into an old friend whom I admire greatly. I admit to him I have always had a crush on him. He admits the same to me. Six weeks later, I fly to Ohio to see him. (2000)

30. I finally finalize my divorce. My gradmother dies and I do as she wished and sing at her funeral. I am awarded Educator of the Year at Columbus State University - Michael attends the ceremony with me. On Michael's birthday, I present him with a diamond ring and ask him to marry me. It takes him a month to give me an answer. (2001)

31. I move into an old house in the ghetto that was built in 1918 and was being remodelled by a friend. I live in the front rooms while the back rooms are being torn to shreds. I watch "Cops Live!" on the street in front of my house each night as the neighbors beat the snot out of each other. One night, the woman was found dead in her shower (they said it was natural causes). Michael breaks up with me saying he does not want the same kind of life that I do - we don't see each other for 6 months. (2002)

32. I move into a duplex and make friends with my next-door neighbors who are Mormon missionaries. I cook lots of food for them. I suffer a nervous breakdown and my doctor releases me into the custody of my best friends. Megan moves in with me to care for me. At Christmas, Michael and I fight a lot, then decide to get married. (2003)

33. Michael and I get married in March, I quit my job one year before going up for tenure, and move to Lexington, KY in order to be with my new husband. (2004)

34. I am diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and learn shortly thereafter that my husband is also sub-fertile. I start treating the PCOS with Metformin and (2005)

35. I talk to the man mentioned in #15 for the first time since the phone call I made to tell him I loved him before he left for the Gulf War. It was a therapeutic call that brought great peace. His wife left him and their two children for another man. He had called my mom, who refused to give him any information about me. I looked up his number and and called to tell him how sorry I was. (2006)

Man, I just realized how weird this all looks, and hesitate to post it. But - nothing is unknown to anyone. My life really hasn't been all that negative - I guess it often seems that years are punctuated by that which we remember - and there are both good things and bad in the mix.

Tomorrow is another day. I hope it gets better.


Warning: Major bitching ahead. Read at your own risk.

I'm having a bad day/week/month.

My two year wedding aniversary is the 19 & 20 (long story that involves my husband being too lazy/apathetic to go get his blood test on time - so we had to get married in a courthouse in another state the day before our actual wedding - it sucked big time. Yes, I still resent him for doing that because he knew full well what his procrastination would do. Ugh.)

My wedding date brings up painful memories.

The wedding was not what I would have wanted. In sum, I wanted a wedding and Michael did not. Everything - absolutely everything - that was done was something Michael did NOT want. We had no flowers, no professional photographer, and a reception that I would rather not have had given what my (well intended) family-in-law had in mind.

I had no extra income and was saving to move to Kentucky. I could not afford to plan a honeymoon. My would-be husband who made a heck of a lot more than I did at the time (@ 50K) - did absolutely nothing. We got married and then went to his parent's house where we sat around until I could motivate him to go online and try to get us a hotel room somewhere. I was mortified. I actually had assumed when I told him that I would not do anything for the honeymoon because I had no money - that he would put something together. When he didn't say anything about it, I figured he was going to surprise me. The surprise came when we had nowhere to go.

To make matters worse, it was during March Madness, so all he wanted to do was sit in the hotel room we did manage to find and watch basketball. Whenever we did go out anywhere, he didn't enjoy it and couldn't wait to get somewhere to watch the game. Romance was not on his mind. Never once did he tell me he was happy, or glad we were married, or happy that I was now his wife.

So, why not start having good memories of this time of the year? Ah, I can imagine that any sane person would ask that same question. I tried. I asked my husband countless times if he would like to do something. "I don't know" was the only answer I could get. I asked if he wanted me to get babysitters, or respite care for the baby - still no answer. I asked if he wanted to go to dinner, out of town, anything. No response. Now let me remind you that I CAN'T just go and plan something without his input because he is constantly OVERWHELMED with WORK. But he is always such an understanding and accomodating partner because he always says I am "free to do whatever [I'd] like" without him. He tells me, "You're a grown woman. If you want to do something, then do it. You don't have to have me to do it with." It is his way of always making sure he is the "good guy". He's not holding me back at all! He gives me complete freedom! Who wouldn't LOVE that? Gee, what a great guy.

Then...THEN...last night he has the balls to tell me this:

"I have three R&Rs (revise and resubmits) for journal articles that are all due in about a month and I need to get them done. I'm gonna need to take the next few Saturdays to go to the office and treat it like a normal workday in order to get this done. That means you'll have to be alone with the baby on Saturdays, but she is sleeping more and I think you should be able to handle it." (this in addition to the fact that he will be at a conference in Texas April 5-9 that will leave me home alone with the baby - after which he will again be "overwhelmed" with the work time he missed from being at the conference!)

Smack - right across the face. Punch - right in the stomach.

There was no conversation. There was simply an announcement. Now I get a month or so of Saturdays without any help around the house or with the baby - this in addition to the fact that I get very little help around the house as it is and that our brand new house looks awful, and downright dirty. I work two jobs and absolutely cannot handle it alone. I'd hire a housekeeper, but a housekeeper still wouldn't be able to deal with the piles of clothes and papers and shit that my husband can't seem to find the time to "go through". I am very tempted to just start throwing things away. I'm convinced he would never know if I did. The middle bedroom in our house is his office - and the computer still isn't hooked up (we moved in the first week in January) because he can't find the cables.

And what do I get in exchange for putting up with this crap?

Lemme put this in context - he is teaching one class this semester. ONE. One class. One. It meets two days a week - from 3-4:15. And he is apparently overwhelmed with work. Yet - YET - I come home and he is always - ALWAYS - sitting on the sofa in the livingroom watching Sports Center, Around the Horn, and Pardon the Interruption (ESPN shows about sports - for the sporting-impaired). He does not miss a basketball game. He even tapes ones that run really late and takes them to the office to watch in his TV/VCR/DVD combo there "while he works". He also goes to his office every single day from 8-5. On Sundays he sits in front of the television from the time we get home from church until he goes to bed, and he is on his laptop most of the time and on the phone with his brother talking about sports. Then he stays up most all night "working".

Who gets up with the baby during the night? Me. Why? Because he doesn't/won't wake up until the baby is crying so hard she is choking and I will not keep letting that happen, and by the time I shove him and yell at him at the very top of my voice to "Get up! The baby's crying!" I am fully awake, pissed off, and figure I might as well do it myself. So now I get up when she cries, is hungry, or needs to be changed unless I am absolutely too dizzy to feel I can carry her safely to the changing table and back. The only thing I insist he do is take her if she wakes up one last time before 6 am and take her downstairs. Of the two of us, I am the only one who has to be at work at 8. He can do whatever the heck he wants as far as his schedule.

"That's fine" I said in response to his announcement about working on Saturdays now too.

I spent the rest of the evening wondering how much more I was going to take of this. We haven't been out since we went out to dinner on New Year's eve. Don't even ask me about physical intimacy. I think I'm growing a new hymen. I'm not so sure we really know that we can't get pregnant. He's always too tired. And no, it wasn't any better before the baby came. Now he just has an excuse you can't argue with.

I made the mistake of asking him again later that evening "What about our anniversary?" And his response was "I said that I realized that things might come up and prevent me from working. I could just do a half-day of work on Saturday or something. I didn't say we couldn't do something. What do you want to do?"

I'd had it. Really, really had it. Tired of being treated like a roommate. Tired of being an accessory to his life that can be taken off and set aside and put back on whenever it's convenient.
I got out of bed. I cried. I tried to "lay down the law". I told him exactly how I felt.

He said nothing. Nothing. NO-THING. Then I heard him snoring. I went back to sleep.

This morning there was no acknowledgement on his part that anything was wrong. He loves to do that - get up in the morning after I've been fuming all night and pretend like we're one happy couple. It just pisses me off even more.

So, I went to work and decided that at least I needed to take care of myself. So, I planned a small road trip to Knoxville, TN. I figure I can take the baby (yes, I have permission) and we can go enjoy ourselves there alone. Michael can have his "work time" in which he will accomplish next to nothing and then I will come home and the insanity will start all over again. But at least I will have gotten to take a vacation - even if I had to do it alone. (oh yeah - we have also never taken a vacation - he is always too "swamped" with work).

Our marriage counselor tells us that we just have major personality differences. She says she has never seen a couple at such extremes. She also says I need to decide whether I am willing to accept Michael as he is and learn to appreciate what I have - or I need to leave if I am so miserable. She says I am torturing myself by trying to get Michael to be the kind of partner I want/need because he is who he is. Lovely. So everything is wrong with ME. How comforting. How freakin' hopeless.

I am tired of not being valued.

Now, I know he loves me - and he loves the baby. I know he wants me to be happy and he wants the baby to have a good life too. But he it unwilling to alter his value system in order to build a happy life for us together. He figures we should just each do whatever it takes for us to be happy, spend some time together where we can find time, and then just exist. To him, there is no work, nothing to build, nothing to envision for the future. This is why I call us roommates - we just happen to sleep in the same bed.

I think most women would look at my situation and wonder what I'm complaining about. I have a relatively new house, a car that runs, nice clothes, a respectable job that pays fairly well, and a husband with a high status job who wouldn't leave - and who is a Christian (I think). I'm assuming he's a Christian. He did all the Christian-like steps and performs Christian well publically. He goes to church on Sunday and writes a check for our tithe. But beyond that there is nothing. He never mentions God to/with me. He does not do Bible study or devotions with me. He does not pray with me. In church, he does not speak to me. In the car on the way to church or on the way home from church, he does not speak to me. We do not talk about our faith or our spiritual life at all. It is as if it does not exist in our home, and that is very sad to me. I know it is sad to God. He doesn't drink, smoke, cuss, or yell. So, I have it pretty good, right?

I honestly don't know what my limits are anymore. I don't even know how to explain what is wrong in our relationship. I only know I'm not getting what I need to just survive it. I'm not even asking for "over-the-top" treatment here - only what I see as the basics.

It's a morbid thought, but if my husband were to croak, I wonder what people would have to say about him at his funeral. No one could honestly say he maintains wonderful realtionships with his family - he might talk to them for 5 minutes on the phone no more than maybe 3 times a month (except his brother, whom he talks to everyday yet knows absolutely nothing about personally). What does he do for other people? I have no idea. I guess at the funeral they'd talk about all the awards he's won and how many articles he's published. It's unfortunate, but no one can say what a great husband he's been. I can't even say if he has any friends that could say he's been a good friend. In every sense of the word, he's a loner. He has a lot that he could offer the world - other people. The saddest thing is that he has no desire to share his life with anyone, and I think there is a lot he could contribute - if only he was willing and able to.

The one thing that continues to bother me the most is this - my husband is the most truly unhappy person I have ever known. Yet, he says he is "content". That makes one of us.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Peace After the Bitter Pill

R. (baby's worker) came to our house last night to visit Sugar Cookie, check her lifebook and get copies of her pediatric records, and see how things are going. I really like R. She's a go-getter. She's a mom. She likes Sugar Cookie. She does what she says she's going to do. She's smart.

After showing her the lifebook we had started for Sugar Cookie, we gave R. an 8x10 copy of Sugar Cookie's 1 month old portrait we had done as well as 8 wallet sized ones - all to give to her birth mother (and one for R. too). We also gave her a handfull of extra copies we had of Sugar Cookie's first night with us home from the hospital (we are not in the photos). It was hard handing those over, but it was the right thing to do. It was bitter-sweet. There was peace there in knowing we were making the right decisions.

Biomom has made no progress at all. No drug tests, no counseling, no nothing. Apparently, all she has is anger, saying that everything "is a bunch of lies" and just being angry. R. says it is frightening how in denial she is. R. does not expect her to do anything, and has said she has done everything possible to get her to comply and give her the information and resources she needs. I guess sometimes you really can't help those who don't want to be helped. R. said there is no way that Biomom will ever voluntarily terminate her rights because of her denial. Her rights to her other two children had to be involuntarily terminated as well because of her denial - even with criminal charges and incarceration of she and Biodad. God and the court system are Sugar Cookie's hope right now. We found our who the judge is, and we are quite pleasedand have more faith that her case will not languish endlessly in judicial hell.

R. also disclosed to us that she does not go to Biomom's place of residence to do her visits with her because of her own personal safety. Geez! If that is the situation, then I am really, really glad Cookie is safe. R. also told us that in the grand "crystal ball" of life - that if we were to adopt Sugar Cookie, they are advising us already to have a very, very closed adoption for her safety and ours. Holy cow. The feelings that wash over me while I rock Sugar Cookie to sleep at night in such peace and tranquility knowing what is going on in the background that is in such upheaval is sometimes overwhelming.

Because Biomom called and said she couldn't come to court on Monday because "she was too sick" to make it, court was pushed back to March 13th. R. then cancelled her visit, saying that if she was too sick to make it to court, then she was too sick to be around the baby and to call and reschedule a visit when she was well. So far, she has no called R. back. Her next scheduled visits will be March 14th and 28th. It will be tough visits if on the 13th, the judge approves Sugar Cookie's transition to an adoptive track giving R. 6 weeks to petition for termination of parental rights.

So, all we have to do now is wait until March 13th. We pray court actually happens. We do not know what they will do if Biomom is a no-show again. I don't care how sick I was - if it were me, I'd be there fighting with every cell in my body to get my baby back and try to prove to anyone willing to listen that I was a fit parent. Not showing up is not a good sign, and the same judge will get to try yet again to hear the petition.

Last night I rocked Sugar Cookie to sleep in my new (antique) rocking chair as we watched an uninspired American Idol together as a family - Michael crashed out on one sofa, and the cats running up and down the stairs like crazed beasts.

Cookie turned 10 weeks old yesterday. She weighs 11 pounds, and is doing just great. There is a great deal of peace whenever I look at her.