Exhausted

I’ve finished the last push for my Master’s degree, seven exams in nine days, with four of them in the final three days. Obviously, I did a lot of studying in the last couple weeks. I think I did alright, I’ll find out September 4th when results are posted.

We’ve been taking the parts of my brother and sister-in-law’s advice to get educated about adoption and to just enjoy life child-free for a while. Of course, that’s what we’ve been trying to do for the last year anyway. We moved to Ireland for me to get a Master’s degree while we didn’t have kids since having kids would make that a whole lot harder. We’ve been having a great time. We’ve taken side trips to France, England and Scotland as well as a 9 day tour of the island of Ireland, going into Northern Ireland. So, mostly we’ve gone to the UK, but it’s right there!

I’m reading a really good book called Adoption: Sound Choices Strong Families by Patricia Irwin Johnston. I’m only 28% of the way through, so says my Kindle, but I’m finding it very helpful. She talks about the kinds of losses that come from infertility (besides my actual losses from recurrent pregnancy loss) and says to take some time and consider those and what’s most important to you not to miss. The six losses she describes are loss of control (but really, who’s actually in control?), loss of genetic continuity, loss of physical expectations of pregnancy, loss of emotional expectations of pregnancy, loss of jointly conceived child, and loss of ability to parent. She suggests giving each a rank of how devastating this loss would be /is to you.

Obviously to me the loss of the ability to parent would be the worst one for me, or I wouldn’t be considering adoption. But the loss of a jointly conceived child and the expectations of pregnancy are right up there too. I’m wondering if maybe being pregnant with a baby that’s part his and part mine is worth enough to me to risk it again. I really don’t know right now.

The dad and I have decided to discuss these things after he’s read those chapters and considered and ranked the losses for himself. He’s been so busy with his crazy work schedule he hasn’t gotten to it yet. He’ll be much happier when we get back to Minnesota and he can work normal person hours instead of having to work 9pm to 1am three days a week in order to get to communicate with his boss. He doesn’t do those hours on Thursday and Friday nights so we can have a social life. Anyhow that’s why we haven’t discussed it yet.

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Practicing starting discussions with my imaginary children

With all my researching, I’m getting excited that I may actually get to be a mother to a child I can talk with. The thought right now is that we will accept up to two children up to age 9.  I may get only four years until teenagers! So, I’ve started practicing starting discussions. I like to be overprepared.

The first is the rules of our house. These will have to be discussed with the dad when he’s less busy (his boss is on vacation so he seems to be doing both of their jobs, but he gets 24 days of vacation plus Irish holidays, so we’re not complaining). (Also, I’ve decided his name on the blog will be “the dad”.)

The first and most important rule will be we all treat each other with kindness. I believe kindness, compassion and acting in a loving manner is the best thing a person can do. Sometimes we fall short of the mark, but kindness and forgiveness are closely related.

The second will be open communication. Say what is on your heart, our home is a safe place to do that.  I believe this is the great strength of our marriage. We both say what we’re thinking and listen to what the other has to say. I won’t say this part to the kids, but I believe our communication style is what has led to the miscarriages strengthening instead of weakening our marriage. It has been safe for us to grieve and mourn in our owns ways while leaning on each other for needed support. It has been mostly me leaning and him being strong, but that’s pretty well expected with our respective genders. The whole point of adopting these kids is to be a safe place for them to land, a home for them to be themselves and become who they want to be.

Then there’s the obvious rules like rowdy playing with wrestling or throwing balls happens outside. Take off your muddy shoes when you come inside. Brush your teeth. Obey bedtimes. You have to bathe because smelling like you don’t makes everybody around you unhappy. Eat your vegetables, the cats won’t. That kind of thing.

Of course, there will have to be the sex talk. I’ll take the girl(s) and/or the dad will take the boy(s). This will of course change if our future daughter has been sexually abused, then I’ll need help figuring out how to talk to her. I’ll know where to get it and that’s important. I remember mom told me what sex was when I was nine and my response was “Why would anyone want to do that?”

I’ll share the difficulty I had at age nine at summer camp being made fun of for still being a virgin. I felt like there was something wrong with me that I hadn’t even started thinking that way yet, and as far as I know nobody had been thinking that way about me. I’ll share my later realization that it’s not about what other people think of my sexual history, it’s about what I think about my sexual history. And it’s about what she thinks about her own sexual history. It’s about feeling good enough about yourself that when other people push, it won’t change the way you want to behave. Even a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s about knowing in your heart what is right and doing that. And that at some point she will be a grown up and in love and want to have sex, and that’s OK. But that before she does, she needs to realize all of the emotions that go along with having sex. That it often means more to a woman than it does to a man. Not always, but a lot of the time. It can mean that the possible subsequent break-up hurts a lot more. And she should be aware of the risks of sex, of pregnancy and STDs. That only if she and a partner have discussed these things and are ready to protect against the physical consequences and risk the emotional should she go ahead, and then not to feel guilty about it.

Then there’s drugs. Our children are possibly going to know some about this before they come to us, but it they don’t, here’s my side. I’ve never done any non-prescription drugs except I ate a pot brownie once and didn’t notice anything except more giggling. That’s because I know drugs are bad for you. I’ve never been offered more than pot, but I turned it down almost every time it was offered, and I’ve never regretted that. Drugs are especially bad for growing brains, which happens until you’re 25. It’s a big risk. The damage to your brain, the addiction possibilities, the legal consequences, it just isn’t worth it. There are so many other ways to feel good, that are good for you. Going for a good long hike, laughing with friends, singing your heart out in the shower. And again, it’s about feeling good enough about yourself that you can push back when people push.

And finally for today depression and suicide. It’s scary and sad, and you feel like you’ve done something wrong to be feeling so distressed.  These are feelings I know well and understand. Always, always, always talk about it. Again with the open communication and our home is a safe place. I know adopted children can feel lonely and abandoned and wonder why them. If they need to talk to me, I’ll be there, and if they need to talk to someone else, I will find that someone else. These feelings make it hard to feel good enough about yourself to resist sex and drugs and other things you may not really want to do. That’s why you need to talk about it.

So that’s a lot of lectures I’m planning in my head right now for an imaginary 9-year-old girl.

Feeling better today

I feel better today, a little less sad and mopey. Not at all excited about studying rheology and polysaccharides, but feeling better about being me.

I’m spending my study breaks researching adoption agency options in case we decide not to go with the county after we go to the informational meeting. There seem to be a ton of agencies, but many will have requirements I don’t meet.

I found one that required an application and $50 fee before you could attend their informational meeting and one of the questions on the application is “Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Husband____ Wife____” Nope, sorry, not the agency for us. I might write about my relationship with God someday but right now it’s still pretty raw.

There’s one that looks good that does infant or waiting children adoptions, whose informational meeting is free, so we might go to that one too. We’re leaning towards waiting children, but haven’t decided 100% yet. I’m not even sure I can articulate why. Maybe it’s because I want 2-3 children and don’t want to go through the rigmarole extra times. Maybe it’s because I’m more scared of a birth mother pulling out after we take custody than I am of dealing with the trauma waiting kids may have faced. Now my depression is like those are stupid and selfish reasons and you don’t deserve a child at all. But I know it lies.

I also found several more for sale houses that I really like. I’m getting more excited about going back to Minnesota with what’s waiting for us there. But I’m still sad to be leaving Ireland in just a month’s time. We’ll be back for the Sacred Harp Convention in March though, so that will be good, we won’t be gone for long.

Am I expecting adoption to cure my depression?

I heard back from my brother and sister-in-law on my request for adoption advice. Each sent a separate e-mail. They claimed to be supportive but were actually very negative. He suggested I was trying to use adoption to cure my depression. Um… no. I’ve had it for 18 years. I know nothing’s going to cure it. I was hoping it would fulfill the perfectly valid need I have to mother someone, like most women my age have. He also said that a sibling group of three was too many. When they had their son within 18 months of the adoption going through, it was very stressful and they “were starting from a very stable, well adjusted base”.  Thanks.

She was much more positive but said it seemed rushed because I want to start as soon as we get back to the States. It will be almost two years since our third miscarriage and after taking off 18 months from TTC. She also suggested looking at the possibility of living without children. I’ll think about that option if we get rejected for adoption due to my psychiatric hospitalization history, but not before that.

She did link me to a good site with adoption information and a ton of recommended books. http://www.creatingafamily.org I’ve put two books on my kindle.

I’m not sure how to respond without sounding defensive, so I haven’t yet.

Changing the plan

The Xanax is great. My mind has slowed down enough that I can think clearly again.  I’ve done a couple hours of studying today and I’m feeling much better about my ability to become prepared.

Due to my recent adjustment disorder my husband suggested that maybe I shouldn’t get pregnant again. That maybe I can’t handle another miscarriage (which is just as likely to happen as not – a 50/50 chance). He said maybe we should move straight to trying to adopt. I thought for a moment and burst into further sobbing. Not because of what may be perceived as his lack of faith in me, no, I saw it as trying to protect me.  I sobbed at the idea of never getting to be pregnant again. Never feeling a baby growing inside of me again. I’m sure everyone reading this knows the feeling of believing you will never be pregnant, and it’s horrible.

Then this afternoon on a studying break, I looked at adoption options in Minnesota for when we move back, and I started getting excited about it. I wouldn’t want to wait forever for an infant. It will take long enough getting an older child(ren). I would want to apply for a family group, up to three kids under ten. I found that there are many waiting children that fall into that category. It will take a super duper long time, so I’d like to start right away in September. We’ll have to buy our house before we could apply for a home study, but there are training steps before that anyway. It’s going to be a long hard road, but we will have a lot of support. My brother and sister in law adopted their little girl (also fertility issues), so they will be a great resource.

Of course, we may not even be approved, which would really suck. I don’t know what I’d do then. Let’s not think about that.

Let’s think about Xanax working and kitties sitting on windowsills that are slightly too narrow.

 

Falling Apart

I’ve had Clinical Depression since I was 13. I’ve been on at least one anti-depressant since then. If I go off of them I fall into a deep depression for no good reason, so I need to stay on them all of the time. Right now I’m on an antidepressant and an anti-psychotic to boost the antidepressant. I got put on that second one when I was in the hospital for suicidal thoughts about two and a half years ago, just after we lost Caroline.

I’m having suicidal thoughts again. I’m waiting for a call back from my doctor about a psychiatrist. Last time I didn’t feel like the suicidal thoughts were conscious and I had no control over them. Right now I feel like I’m controlling my thoughts. I’m not sure that’s better, but it’s less frightening. I think I can make them stop before I do anything, but I still know I need help.

I tried to read last night the Bloggess’s post about “Depression lies” because I thought it might help. But in it she says her daughter saves her everyday. That made me cry even harder because my daughters can’t. And my son can’t. Because they’re dead. That’s all I can think about right now. They’re dead.

I’ve gotten the call from my doctor, and he’s sending me to the hospital. They probably won’t admit me today but they will get something organized. I’ll let you know what happens.

UPDATE:

I have been to the hospital and talked to a psychiatrist. She was wonderful. She talked to just me about my whole past and everything that’s going on and how I’m reacting to it.  She asked good questions I could answer. Then she talked to my husband and he told her his perspective on what’s going on and what has worked for me in previous depressive episodes. She spoke with the team and they diagnosed me not with a depressive episode, since it’s not that bad and too short, but with an adjustment disorder. It seems to be when you have a perfectly valid reason to be upset, but your way of dealing with it is disordered, and it will get better one you get used to the triggering stressor.

Obviously my brain’s coping mechanisms are overboard and dysfunctional, so I need to work on that. But, she said that with all that’s happened in the last few days with Caroline’s due date, the “news” and the seven exams I have in the next two weeks, anybody would be having trouble. She suggested a counselor and prescribed some Xanax to get me through the next few days. She suggested I not try to study today. She will also see me again in three weeks to see how I’m getting on.

I’ve taken the Xanax, I’m drinking tea, and I’ve got a cat sleeping on my lap, so I’m doing much better. It will be even better on Thursday when I get my house back.

 

They’re still in my house

I very much wish that when fertile people tell infertile people or people who’ve suffered multiple miscarriages about accidental pregnancies that the could cushion the blow. Because it is a blow. And it takes a while to get over even when cushioned. It takes even longer to get over if the news is given in an uncaring flippant way.

So, after yesterday’s post my husband’s cousin ( sister of the pregnant one) asked me how I was. I told her the truth. I said I was not OK with the news, I was really not OK with the way I was told. That the addition of the “Guess the birth control didn’t work” was completely unnecessary and hurtful. I got emotional and went overboard with it and said that it was totally unfair that the married and financially stable couple was not the one that got the baby.

At dinner, I went into the bathroom to wash my hands and she and her mother were in there and basically attacked me about needing to support her and celebrate this. I said it was going to be a LONG time before I could do that. After her mother left and I started crying, we had a talk and she claimed that she meant to tell me for the last week that she’s been here, but cared so much she didn’t know how and it just came out the way it did when her mom got to Ireland. Well, I still cried for the next three hours. It has tainted my favorite restaurant. I went to bed at 10:30 and didn’t get up until after 10 this morning to avoid them.  I only got up because I was hungry.

I just want them out of my house. I can’t stand the sight of them right now. I don’t know when I’ll be able to, but it’s definitely not going to be later today. They’ve gone out to breakfast and to tour the city with my husband and I stayed back to study. At least I have a good excuse not to go anywhere with them.

Basically, I’m in a lot of pain right now, I can’t think of anything but the anger and dead babies. I need to be studying.