Monday, August 25, 2008

Bye Bye Beijing

I loved the Olympics like I've always loved the Olympics, but this year was extra fun: it was Tyler's first Summer Games and he watched a lot of it right along with us.

One extra cool byproduct of logging all those hours cheering on Team USA is our own Family Olympics.

For example:

  • At dinner time, Tyler usually doesn't eat very much, and sometimes gags just looking at our food. The last couple of weeks, however, he's eaten all of his food so he can get a "Gold Medal" in eating!
  • It's often difficult to get him to kneel down and stay quiet during family prayer. Not anymore, now that he can get a "Gold Medal!"
  • Same with getting dressed.
  • Same with picking up toys.

IT'S THE BEST THING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD, I tell ya! And I'm a little sad because I know this fascination with Gold Medals is not going to last forever. But hey, if buying that box of Michael Phelps Corn Flakes will keep Little Man eating well and doing chores without a fight, I just might stock up!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Old Friend

I had a pretty good handle on our infertility. Several years removed from the monthly charting, lab tests, psycho medications and those beastly little home pregnancy tests, I was comfortable–content even–with the fact that our children would not come through biological means, but through the miracle of adoption.

It’s not that I was totally over it–I’m not sure that ever happens. But I was at a place where I didn’t think about it that much. I was honestly happy for friends and family who announced that they were expecting. I opened up about our experiences, trying to share with my "breeding" friends the new and exciting world of Open Adoption. I could see the blessings that had come to us through these struggles. I still didn’t attend most Baby Showers, but between you and me, it was more because I just hated those things rather than any real relation to my grief!

Gearing up for our 2nd adoption, I met with my doctor to have the required medical exam. A day later, I got a phone call from his office. My blood work had come back with a big surprise: I was pregnant! I was stunned. I will forever remember that moment: sitting in the hot sun on a pool chair, watching our son’s swimming lesson, asking the nurse if she was absolutely sure. "Yes," she said, I was "several weeks along."

How could this be? My doctors had said it would never happen. I was incredulous and grateful and excited. What a miracle that after nine years of negative results, it had finally just happened on its own!

I let myself go where I’d never allowed myself to go before: thinking about this baby. Was it a boy or a girl? What would it look like? Would it have the strong forehead/eyes of Brad’s family? Would it be a towhead like Brad was? He had been so supportive through the years. In his mind, it wasn’t my infertility, it was ours. Yet I had always felt remorse and guilt for being the reason we couldn’t conceive. To finally be able to bear a child was such a relief! I would no longer be "the infertile one." I would be able to contribute when the conversations among friends turned–as they always do–to childbirth! So much of our LDS culture revolves around "fulfilling the measure of our creation." Although I knew that I could do that without actually producing a child, it felt good that I was finally able to go the conventional route!

After letting it settle in for a few hours, I was determined to see for myself that it was true, so I headed down to the drug store. I was finally going to beat my nemesis, the Home Pregnancy Test!

Only I didn’t.

Another single line, just like the thousands of other single lines I’d gotten over the years. Another test a few hours later repeated the same result.

Although I was disappointed–and really annoyed that the test had beaten me again–I was perplexed but not too worried. After all, my blood results had come out positive. The doctor knows best, right?!

The next day on our way out of town, I zipped in to give another sample of blood, just to be sure. How ironic that Brad and I were headed to Dallas, where we were to attend an adoption conference, as well as interview with our adoption caseworker. In the middle of lunch, just before Brad was to present a class on "Coping With Your Infertility," (no I’m not joking!) I received the phone call I had been dreading: the lab had messed up somehow–I, in fact, was not pregnant. Never was. Talk about a cruel joke to play on an infertile lady!

What gets me is that I truly had made peace with not being a biological mother. But to have that hope–to believe that somehow a miracle had occurred, only to find out that it hadn’t–that was a big blow.

I don’t share this personal story to get pity or condolences. I share it to remind myself and others that grief over infertility–or anything, really–is a very real thing. The important thing is to let myself feel the pain, and acknowledge that it might never entirely go away. And that’s okay.

I’ve met some couples along the way, however, that don’t allow themselves to feel the pain of infertility. Instead they stuff it away and pretend it’s not there, and think that all they really need is a baby. So they begin the adoption process, with appreciation, but little tolerance for their child’s birth parents. Dealing with them is merely the means to an end. Once they get their baby, they don’t keep the promises they made regarding communication. They resent the fact that they have to communicate at all. This is their baby, now, after all. They don’t see how their infertility issues are adversely affecting their child.

Newsflash: Adoption does not cure the pain of infertility. Just as the birth mother bravely examined her options and chose what was best for her child, we also must step back and do what’s best for the child. We must celebrate who they are, and that includes where they came from before they were with us. If my child grows up sensing secrecy and bad vibes about his birth family, he’s going to think there’s something fundamentally wrong with him. If he can see, however, that we love and honor his birth family, and talk freely and positively about them, he’ll feel much better about himself and his adoption.

Sometimes I wish that I had given birth to my son. It would certainly be less complicated. But I look at him, and I know that he wouldn’t be who he is today if he had my genes. I’m not threatened by his birth family. Instead, I welcome them into the circle of people who truly love him, and want what’s best for him.

A quote by a participant in Barbara Eck Menning’s Infertility study sums up how I feel about things: "My infertility," she says, "resides in my heart as an old friend. I do not hear from it for weeks at a time, and then, a moment, a thought, a baby announcement or some such thing, and I will feel the tug–maybe even be sad or shed a few tears. And I think, 'There’s my old friend.' It will always be a part of me."

So that's what I've been up to the last couple of weeks: visiting with an old friend. Not to be rude, but she stayed a little too long this time! I'm kind of glad she's gone for now.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thank Heavens for AAA and Nice People!

About a month ago I got sucked in by an infomercial for AAA. We'd never been members before, but I often wished we were because they always got better hotel rates. Anyway, maybe it was the free extra membership, or maybe the complementary stainless steel thermos, but we decided to sign up. About a week ago we got our cards, and a couple days later we saved our first money on a hotel for a business trip when we got a AAA rate that Brad's work travel agency couldn't match!

But today was when I became really grateful. On our way home from Ty's swimming lesson, the car's steering froze up, and it stopped accelerating. After trying a couple times to start it up again, I realized that Ty and I were in the hot sun with a broken-down car, without a cell phone (I left it home accidentally!) and my husband was up in Austin an hour away. After turning on the hazards, and using my best hand-to-ear signal to symbolize a phone, a fellow motorist took pity on me and lent me his phone. He also mentioned that he's a car salesman, and gave me his card to call him if life with my Taurus didn't work out. (No worries, Cosmo the blue Taurus is home tonight in our garage, working splendidly.)

AAA to the rescue! While we waited, clouds covered the sun, making it blessedly cooler. Just 15 minutes later a nice man from the Dominican Republic rescued Ty and me. Without having to pay anything, we were chauffeured to my new favorite Auto shop, just about a mile from our house. Gilberto Herrera is the proprietor, and although I was impressed with him before when we took the car in for something, I became more so today. He offered to take us home since Brad wasn't with me, then he found the problem and quickly had it fixed. He came and picked us up at the house, as well! Not only that, the total was ten dollars less than he quoted me, plus he gave me free gas!

I guess I'm pretty proud of myself: I handled a possibly stressful situation really well all by myself; several people were really nice and helpful; and we now have a mechanic that we trust, and he's just around the corner from us! And it's nice that although it was kind of a pain and cost us a couple hundred bucks to fix the car, several blessings (joining AAA, clouds covering the sun, nice people, good mechanic) were interspersed throughout, making it as pleasant as could be!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Swimming Lessons

Despite this,


and this,

he LOVES it and can't wait to go back tomorrow! Yay!

Sunday, August 03, 2008


I was just called as Primary President today, and I am seriously worried. I have not spent much time in Primary since I was in it myself! A brief stint as a nursery assistant back in 2005 doesn't necessarily qualify me. And I thought Girls Camp was a challenge!

Anyway, I would LOVE it if you could give me your best tips, advice, things you've seen and liked, things you haven't liked--anything you have to say related to Primary. Thanks!
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