July 7, 2018

Question Marks

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Rainer Maria Rilke
The question everyone asks after is, “How are you doing!?”
My broken heart beats back “I’m-so sad-so sad-so tired-so tired”, but I swallow those broken beats, and grab for my halfhearted “Oh-I’m-ok-thanks-for-asking” masked reply and put that on instead.
It’s just easier.
I had an answer. I had a name for my pain. After years of trying everything to tame the angsty question marks rattling around in my head, I finally got to belong to a club. I found comfort and comradery, I had fellow sisters soldiering on against this pain too.
Then…I got kicked out of the club.
Pathology. Benign. Not malignant. Not harmful in effect.  
The only way to confirm diagnosis of Adenomyosis is by biopsy AFTER a hysterectomy. It’s the only way. I never thought it wouldn’t be there. I had so many of the symptoms. I was confident in my doctor. He was the one to finally give me answers after all these years of question mark pain.
It wasn’t there. Nothing was there.   
I have no path to the pain. I will never have an answer to that question. The welcome back party to the invisible illness club was cold. It’s lonely and empty here. Your companions are more question marks punctuated with anger, guilt, shame and deep aching sadness.
My physical pain is gone. So, look at the bright side, right? What about the dark side…will it come back? And that tiny spark of “what…if…a…miracle…could…happen?” is…extinguished, and I’ve felt that profoundly. All that’s there now is a cavernous hole, with all those question marks still rattling around hollowly.











April 28, 2018

The End


"It's important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story, you free yourself and give other people permission to acknowledge their own story."  -Iyanla Vanzant

“Wow, so you’ve gained some serious weight since your last physical. Are you just sitting at your desk all day? You need to get you moving!” the physical therapist at my annual work physical blurted out. As if I wasn’t already super conscious about my rapidly changing body…his blunt comments sealed the deal.
“Well, I just got married…maybe it’s the “freshman 15” x 2?” I tried to joke back to lighten the mood, so I wouldn’t start crying.
In all honesty, I had no idea what was going on with my body. I was exhausted, no matter how much sleep I got the night before. I was achy down to my bones and moved like a brittle old woman. I loved to run, but I just simply couldn’t get my body to move that way anymore. I felt stressed all the time. I was gaining weight fast, my body inflamed and swelling up like I was stung by a giant bumblebee. I was pretty sure I was becoming the new poster child for the bearded woman…every woman should rock a 5 o’clock shadow, right?! I hadn’t had a period in 6 months. As much as I wished I were miraculously pregnant…I was left empty and barren month after month.
Doctor, doctor, doctor. Test, test, test. Please, please, please…will someone help figure out what’s wrong with me?
“Well…you’ve got Hypothyroidism. You’re so tired and gaining weight. Here’s a pill to help that.”
“Well…you’ve got a nasty case of Bell’s Palsy. You’re stressed and have so much inflammation, you’ll have permeant facial paralysis. There’s no pill to help that”
“Well…you’ve got Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. You’re an achy ballooning, barren bearded woman. Here’s a pill to help that.”
7 different doctors. 3 different diagnoses. 5 years. 100’s of pills. 1 body…continuing to fail. 
“Well, well, well…you’ve got Adenomyosis. You’re crampy, clotting, bloated, nauseous, anemic, and hormonally imbalance.  Your hair is falling out in clumps. You’ve gained 70 lbs. You’re depressed, anxious and you have pain everywhere. There’s no pill to help that. You’re getting worse. At this point we can do a hysterectomy.”
32 years old. 0 pregnancies. 0 miscarriages. 1 broken body. 1 broken womb. 
So…The End has finally come. Hysterectomy. It's a sad and happy grief at the same time. While glowing women around me are in their prime of birthing babies, I will lose that part of me to a hysterectomy. My miracle babies will hopefully still come to me in a different way. Hopefully The End means a new beginning, with a less broken body.
This story of ours, the heartbreak and healing, trials and triumph, mourning and miracles, grief and gratitude, pain and pure joy, has taken the blinders from my eyes. All of our stories are intertwined. Loss, grief and sadness seeps into all of our lives, in one way or another. And we all have experiences that leave our shoulders pinned beneath heavy boulders. Some loads last only days, others last months to years and some last a lifetime. Some loads simply titter off, while some threatening to come crashing down on us. Despite these rockfalls of life, these burdens don't have to render you worthless. You have worth, no matter what load you are carrying. You are always enough. You are always loved. Someday you will be stronger...because of these loads. Be gentle with yourself and love yourself...because so many others do.  

We'll make it through. 














May 11, 2017

Yoked

For almost a year and a half, I used to write letters to Loo's birth mom before I even knew her. That was the story of this blog...this blog was for her. Looking back, my words are morphing into a time capsule...to me. I realize now, I was writing to myself too. 

It's something I didn't quite understand then, but I do now. Her and I will always be yoked together. We are both mammas to a sweet little girl.

Even though we aren't physically together, I feel her, everyday. How I wish more than anything I could swoop in, wrap up my other half in a big hug, and keep her safe from the hurts she has known. My wish, sadly, feels as improbably as stumbling across a genie filled lamp. So, I'll do the only thing I know how to do...keep cheering her on from afar.

Dear Birthmom, 

Wherever you go, I hope you always know these things...

Know oh how loved you are. You are never alone, or forgotten. You aren't invisible. Know that our little lady knows your face from the pictures I show her. She knows your name. She prays for you. You are a part of her, and she is a part of you.


Know that I remember you. I remember you! I see your pain. You are tremendous for carrying on. I pray for you. You are a part of me, and I am a part of you.

Love, 

Us




May 5, 2017

Our Love

I'm learning now that there's a void in my chest like never before. Instead of being tucked safely away in a cage of bones...my heart now runs around freely outside of my body, in the form of a blue-eyed bouncing babe. Every bit of that tiny girl, and her story, has my heart. 

Sometimes I get lost in the stormy parts of the story. And as I've tried fervently to protect that precious heart of mine from the pain...I've let my fear and grief sweep me out to the swelling sea. 

As we had a peaceful moment the other day, a wave of emotion washed over me. Love. Love. Love. Oh how I love this little girl. Just like the moon pulls the tide back to land, my love for her pulls me back from the swallowing swells. 

Love. That is some powerful stuff right there! I would do anything for her because of the love I have for her. AnythingAll the hard hits. All the painful parts. I fight the swelling sea because I love her. 

And that's where I'm realizing we'll find the courage to do this all over again, to find our next missing piece...we'll find strength in our love.



Our Love

Oh, I've been walking down this road, and on my own, and on my own. 

And on my own I've been searching to find my way, to find the path that you've been traveling on.

Like the trees wait for the rain to come, I feel hope in the strength of our love.


And I'm going crazy, 'cause you're moving slow. Your train ain't running like I want it to go.


Like the seas wait for the dawn to come, I feel hope in the strength of our love.


So wait for me, as I wait for you. And we'll find the love we've wanted so.


And all come true. 


-Judah and the Lion

April 25, 2017

Emptiness and Broken Parts: Part 2

Emptiness and broken parts. I'm still trying to make peace with this broken body of mine...the rippling causes and effects. The pain of it all, it still ebbs and flows. Looking back on my journal, 3 years later today I've realized that those feelings have never really left me, and I still ache just as strongly.

We get asked all the time now..."Are you going to adopt again?" "When are you going to adopt again?" "Isn't it about time that you adopted again?" The short answer is...yes.

The long answer is...yes. The emptiness still aches. There are more missing pieces of our family out there. But as for the nitty gritty details of who-what-when-where-why-how...we simply don't know.  We need to find the courage and strength to start again. If this were an easy journey, we would have jumped right in again in a heartbeat.

But every story has two sides right? We let everyone in on the positivity and hope we felt during our first search. The very private second side of our story isn't so magical and starry-eyed. The aching depression, anxiety, worry and hopelessness we've experienced is downright ugly. I think people are very surprised when they catch slivering glimpses of that. Now just wait a minute...shouldn't we be so grateful and happy!? We are! We are so, so, so grateful and happy to have Loo in our family! She completes us. But...that has come at a very great cost to someone else. Adoption is so incredibly emotionally difficult and complex. It doesn't end after 9 months. It doesn't end after you are placed with. The ache, the heartbreak and sadness you feel for your child's birth family can be so sharp in moments it takes your breath away. Lucy was snuggling Steve the other day, and BAM...it was her birth dad's eyes staring right back at me. His eyes. Or BAM...a simple look on her face, and it's her birth mom smiling at me. Her face.  BAM...when her hair is in a ponytail, it reminds me of her birth sister. BAM...she is so snuggly, just like birth brother. I know they are somewhere hurting, and there is nothing I can do to change that or take that hurt away, it can utterly gut me somedays. There isn't a ache I've known like that. It's a painful love story, filled with a deep empathy few understand and see. It has been one of the hardest things we've ever done. And it still is now...2 years later.

So yes. We will do this all over again. We'll fight on to our next missing piece...it will be worth it. But right now, we're trying to build up our reserve of hope, strength and courage to get us through...

May 15th, 2014: Emptiness and Broken Parts

"I was talking with one of my wonderful new co-workers today, and we were talking about the ups and downs of adoption. I told her that I try and stay as positive as I can...but I have the occasional down days. She smiled at me and said wisely that I wouldn't be human if I didn't...and that she'd be worried if I didn't. I think she's so right. I think that being sad and allowing ourselves to feel those feelings is part of the healing process. 

So, that being said...I was sad this week. The room was warm, cozy and dimly lit. Almost spa-like...but without that cheesy new age'y music they play to lull you into a realm of relaxation. I wonder if they made the room that way on purpose...to calm patients jittery nerves. Because going to the doctor I've found, is nothing like a spa experience. I struggled to make a picture out of the black and white noise on the screen as the very nice ultrasound technician pushed and prodded on my belly. I nervously joked with her..."I'm sure glad you can see something in all that fuzziness...because I sure can't!" "Oh don't you worry...if you'd done my job enough...you'd know what to look for too!" Was her reply. And then the sadness swept over me for the first time. They found what they were looking for in there. And it wasn't the thing I've been longing for. There's nothing but emptiness and broken parts in there."




February 11, 2017

Recognition

It feels like a whole different lifetime ago when I started opening up and sharing our story. When I think back on everything that has happened in the last three years...I don't even recognize myself anymore. Who was that woman!? Looking back on her, I miss her courage, and I miss her strength. Gosh, she was ready to take on anything. And she did. She jumped feet first right into the stormy sea before her, and didn't even flinch as the waves swallowed her whole. And what a ride it has been...rumbling, tumbling, smashing, gasping for breath, hoping the waves that kept crashing would just spit me out and be done with me.

We've faced a sea full of storms.

We've struggled with our bruised and broken bodies. Infertility is a beast!

We began our adoption journey, and went searching high and low for our missing piece. And then we our missing piece!!! What a miracle she has been!

We've experienced (and still are!) everything that comes with parenthood and growing together as a family. And you know what...being a parent...it's hard stuff! Amazing, miraculous and wonderful...but still hard.

We've mourned (and still are!) the loss of the relationship we wish we could have with Loo's birth family. That is a space in my heart where I think it will always ache. As their story is not my story to tell, it will stay in my heart, and I won't share it here, but it will still ache nonetheless.

All of these storms we've braved...as hard as they were, I'm learning that I need to honor this time in our lives that we've gone through, and give it recognition, and pause to remember where we've been.

I think it's time to start looking forward now...because I am STILL her...even after everything.



September 28, 2016

Jumping back in

It's been a long time ol' blog...it's been a long time. And I think the time has come for us to jump back in...

Where to jump back in though? So much has changed...in way's I feel like we're in a completely different world than we were before Lucy came. SO. Many. Thoughts. SO. Many. Feelings.

How we've blinked...and our baby is now a little girl? How did that happen!? She is the sweetest little lady, she's kind, and sensitive, silly and sassy, curious and so dang cute. How did we get so lucky to have her in our lives? Sometimes we just lay in bed at night, looking at pictures of her, still in disbelief that she's here in our family. How did we get so lucky?

I wasn't ready for the pain though. The loss. The pain of the loss of her birth family. It ACHES. Everyday...wondering how they are, if they are okay. Wishing there was someway we could make things better for their family. I'm still trying to process this pain, and work through it...give it words. They're story isn't ours to tell...and the door is always open to them, because they will always be a part of us...and we will always love them.