prettier in hindsight

21 06 2010

Almost 10  years ago and more than 20 lbs lighter, this is me.  Shaun and I had taken a trip to the island where my family lived.  When we were young and had disposable income, we could do things like drive down for a long weekend.

This trip happened to take place just a few days after a hurricane had blown through.  The ocean was beautiful and turbulent.  Normally, it’s calm and only the most determined surf off the coast.  It was too beautiful to ignore so we set off walking down the beach, looking for shells and little sea animals that sometimes get washed up.

Several years before, we had come across a sea turtle that had been washed ashore and pecked on the neck by some scavenging bird.  We collected the little guy into an ice bucket we stole from a hotel with ocean water.  Then we went to the police station to see if a conservationist could come get him.  In a small town on a small island, the police are the ones who know who to call.

On this trip, however, there wasn’t as much debris – there were just HUGE waves.  (Huge compared to normal – I know other places put our little patch of ocean to shame.)  I couldn’t help it – I dove in and started body surfing, leaving Shaun with the camera.

It was wonderful, but even then my body had started it’s course towards this dis-ease.  I had been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse.  I needed to sleep about 14 hours a day.  I would throw up if I was in the sun for too long.  I wasn’t even 21.  Instead of being young, beautiful, and fabulous I was busy making contingency plans.  Carefree and spontaneous were (and still are) words I didn’t understand.

No matter all that – I kept surfing.  After four or five waves I was getting very tired and decided to go after one more ride then go back to the hotel for a nap.

I dove in and started swimming out towards the waves.  That was the one that caught me – a riptide.  I remember being pulled towards the bottom and my brain started the emergency procedure protocol: don’t panic, relax, swim parallel to the shore.

Initiate survival tactic #1 – don’t panic.  I realized then under the water that I didn’t care very much if I came back up.  I wasn’t suicidal.  I was just at ease that if my life was at an end, that was ok too.  The pain, the fatigue, the grief, the losses of infertility – that would all be over if the ocean kept me.  I saw the swirls of the waves enveloping me and supporting me.

In normal circumstances, I’m terrified of drowning.  Of being pressed from all sides and powerless to reach the top for a breath.  The thought in my head during this was “one breath and it’s all over.”  Instead of terror, I felt relief.

I don’t know how long I was under but the ocean didn’t want me.  It spat me out literally at Shaun’s feet.  The wave pushed me into something solid and then there was a flash.

The flash of a camera held by my husband.

The ocean gave me back to him and it didn’t even take my hat.  That ocean is a pretty cool guy.  I’d like to see him again.

Barren & the Bible

9 05 2010

I thought for a long time that I had failed spiritually somehow and that’s why I couldn’t have children.  I think I got to the point of not caring this past year when I did things “my” way and adopted my babies and got a hysterectomy.

Mother’s Day is always hard on me because for the past 10 years, I’ve been the outcast.  This morning, I was looking up a Psalm that my sister had found and came across this:

Isaiah 54

1-6 “Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth!
You’re ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women.” God says so!
“Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.
You’re going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.
You’re going to take over whole nations;
you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed.
Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.

This is the Psalm – she remembered it because I said that I’ve always been sick and in pain.  I can’t remember ever being “normal” but that I’ve done more than anyone could have expected.

Psalm 129

1 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,”
Let Israel now say—
2 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth;
Yet they have not prevailed against me.
3 The plowers plowed on my back;
They made their furrows long.”
4 The LORD is righteous;
He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.

I’ll write more later about it, but I wanted to make sure it was up somewhere I could find it.  Hugs to everyone who feels like the Bible forgot them and that they failed because they are sick.  You didn’t and you aren’t.  You are just walking a different path.


13 03 2010

Cami laid an egg on March 4th!  I’m keeping a diary of it because it’s her very first egg.  I hope it’s a real chick and not just a dud egg.  Normally doves lay 2 eggs at a time but this time we only got one.  She seemed like she was going to lay another for a day or two and never did.  Doves lay 30 eggs a year (15 clutches) and only half of them are fertilized.  They incubate them all, though, and won’t lay another set until the set in the nest has hatched.

What does this mean for our house?  Everything has revolved around The Egg.  The temperature of the house.  The humidity.  What time the lights get turned on and off.  Checking the nest to make sure the egg is still in it (it did somehow get flipped out once.)  Making sure Pete is happy on his roost.  Making sure Cami has enough calcium supplement in the food bowl.

It takes 14 days to incubate an egg, apparently, and this just means my crazy ass is going through the TTC stress all over again.  “Is it really a baby or did it not get fertilized?  Was the egg damaged at all when it fell?  Is everything just right?”  You know, I KNOW that birds do this all the time in the wild without any help or worrying and in less than prime conditions.

Then I read an article that said some female birds are infertile (all their eggs are duds) and that the male half of their matched pair will reject the female.  Normally doves mate for life like geese do.  I’m really hoping my bad egg curse/karma/craziness doesn’t affect them.  All our furry animals are neutered and spayed so it doesn’t matter.  Now I’m spayed too… and the birds are the only potentially reproductive pair.

Anyways, here’s a picture of Cami and Egg just after it was laid.  I’ve hesitated to take pictures since because I don’t want to scare Pete off his roost.  He’s already such a good birdie daddy!

I really hope there’s a baby bird in there!

I am pissed off!

11 08 2009

Back from the ultrasound appointment.  If you think it’s one of those scan the belly types of things you see on TV, you’re either deluded or have a penis.  Ultrasound machines look like this:

You see that finger shaped probe next to the roll of TP – that’s how they do the ultrasounds.  It works much like a dildo with sonar but normally you don’t use a dildo to poke every single place inside your abdomen.

I’ve been through this before and I was expecting it.  At least they lubricate those things well.  No, the ultrasound isn’t the reason I’m pissed off.  It’s the reason I’m still in pain after two darvocet but it’s not why I’m mad.

I’m mad because the ultrasound CLEARLY showed a septum (makes the uterus Y shaped instead of triangle shaped) but also showed massive amounts of endometriosis and a large cyst on my right ovary.  The tech said it’s very clear why I’ve never been able to get pregnant.

Here’s why I’m mad:  SO WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I BEEN DOING SINCE 2004!  Holy shit, didn’t you think that was like pertinent for someone who’s taking fertility meds known to cause cysts and blindness????  I mean if it’s technically impossible for me to carry to term, why didn’t they recommend a surgical solution years ago?  For years and years and years I’ve lived with this constant pain, hoping that my uterus would do it’s damn job and when I finally adopt 3 kids and demand a hysterectomy no one is SURPRISED once they take a look under the hood.  Or inside the hood, as it may be.

Yeah, yeah, it all happens for a reason.  Everything worked out just fine.  It doesn’t make me less angry.  I could fucking break something right now but I need to get ready to go to my NEXT appointment – the one where I get tested for all kinds of BS to make sure I won’t croak on the table.  I hope it goes easily because I don’t know if I can control my mouth today.  I can’t wait to get asked why I never picked up the referral to the cardiologist.  It’s because cardiologists deal primarily with old fat people and I am neither old nor fat.  I’m tired of wearing a damn monitor for weeks just so they can say “we don’t see any electrical abnormalities.”  I don’t deal well with beta blockers and unless they are a cardio-thoracic surgeon, there’s nothing they can do for me even if they believe that my symptoms are “real.”  Because as everyone knows, mitral valve prolapse isn’t a “real” medical problem and dysautonomia is “all in your head and you’ll feel better once you’re not as scared about it.”

Fuck that.  I’m not paying someone a $25 copay so they can think I’m exaggerating how bad it is and do absolutely nothing to help.  If I were a Munchausen or a hypochondriac, I’d be searching out doctors – not avoiding them because they don’t consider my symptoms serious enough.   MVP may be academically interesting (cool, can I hear it click?) but it sure is an annoying thing to not die from.

quick and in a hurry

6 08 2009

I had my OB/GYN appt yesterday and it went so unbelievably well!  I thought I’d have to talk the doctor into a hysterectomy instead of trying the months of things that were such a failure in my mom and sister.  I literally don’t think I’d survive hormone treatments, an ablation, or all that other stuff that led up to my family’s hysterectomies.  So I went to the same doctor and gave him the run-down of health problems related to bleeding and he did the exam.

He totally agreed that a hysterectomy would be the best idea and that it be done as soon as possible.  He said it felt like an adenoma in the uterine wall that was causing all the pain and bleeding. ThankyouJesus!  He asked what my pregnancy plans were and I gave him the wtf look.  I’ve got three kids and I totally don’t ovulate.  He laughed and said that’s probably good because a pregnancy for me would most likely be “not low risk.”  I’d be on my back or in the hospital for the entire 10 months, the migraines and heart issues would probably get worse, and the medication I’m on can cause birth defects.  Let’s see… um, no baby maker sounds good to me.

I really like this doctor – he’s funny and sweet and really gives a damn.  He also dealt with my sister successfully and is therefore a saint.  There were a few really funny moments yesterday.  He did the breast exam and said “aw, a rubber ducky!”  I told him that my chest was the bath toy section of tattoos and I thought his eyes were going to bug out of his head.  “W-w-what?”  I had to show him the other boob (he would have gotten there anyways) with the scuba diving turtle.   While he was doing the “down there” exam he said “my stomach says burrrrrrrito.”  LOL!  It’s nearly impossible to laugh when you’re getting a cervical swab though so I just grinned.

My sister is the master of inappropriate comments and I was with Amber during all her baby stuff and all the uterine crap afterwards, so Dr. B knew I’m ok with random shit.  He asked Amber if she really was comfortable with a hysterectomy and she told him “all my uterus does is bleed, cause pain, and produce bastard children. ”  See, I didn’t know this when he asked me the same thing and I said “it’s like 5 lbs of worthless flesh.  When can you go get it?”  Although, I’ll never have reason to tell him to reach on up there and grab the kid by the fro and get him OUT so he’s going to have an easier time with me.

We went through all the health stuff and he pronounced me a healthy 28 year old female, other than the problems with the heart and brain and uterus… lol.  I can’t wait to not have the uterus problem.  I feel trapped by the stupid body and once it’s able to actually heal instead of getting caught up from bleeding only to bleed again, I’ll feel so much better.

My sister and mom are so happy for me.  Shaun is too, but he’s worried about logistics.  He’s a PM, so that’s his natural state.  My dad said “no more grandbabies from my daughters…” I was like, Dad, I know where to get grandbabies!  There’s like 100million in foster care.  (Although, I told the doctor I bought my kids at Wal-Mart.  It’s my standard answer for “where did they come from?”  Wal-Mart.)

So, surgery is August 20th.  Before then, I need to get this house spotless and the kids’ schedules down pat so that the family doesn’t get totally manipulated by my youngsters.  I also need to coordinate who is going to help out on what days during what time.  I need to get my laptop configured and all my TV shows onto a flash drive so I won’t be totally bored during the hospital stay.  My cell is a wireless tether so I’ll have internet but cell coverage is spotty in the hospital.  I’m pretty sure I can unplug for a couple of days… but that may just make me crazy.

Today is open house and kiddos start school on Monday.  Most of A’s uniforms are washed, so I just need to get those separated into outfits.  All the school supplies are bought and packed up in backpacks and ready to go.  E’s the only one that will be home with me during the day, so most of the help I’ll need during the day will be with him and transporting the kiddos to and from school and making meals.  I may need to call the vet and ask for some puppy sedatives for Nola and Abbie.  Either that or duct tape a pillow to my tummy to ward off Nola hugs and just let Abbie do her over-protective “don’t come near my mommy” thing.

I’d better log off and start cleaning.  I’m going to sweep then give each kid a wet magic eraser and let em go at the floors.  They’re closer than I am.  🙂

Racial adoption?

6 07 2009

I wrote this post a few days ago, but didn’t publish it because I was still a bit worked up about the article.  Now, instead of angry about it, I’ve settled down to a “be happy in the skin you’re in” kind of mood.

I think this race issue has been beaten into the ground.  We have a shared human race experience and so what if our skin tones don’t match up?  Generation Y doesn’t get why people get so worked up about skin color or nationality, largely in part because of the internet.  Hopefully the next generation will settle into being comfortable and happy with who they are.  If not, we’ll all just have to keep fucking until the whole world is brown.

So, the post I wrote with some parts deleted due to emotional idiocy.

From this article:

“In many cases, it [the pressure to be a mother] begins to set up feelings of unworthiness, poor self-esteem and the feeling that ‘I’m not fully a woman,’ ” Oliver says.

That pressure can cause some African-American women to rush into a marriage with a man they should not partner with, says Kenyatta Morrisey, a 34-year-old mother of three adopted children in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Really?  White women too.  Also, biracial and multiracial women.  Um, so do Native American women and basically women who live in… like, planet Earth.  Ever read the Bible?  Women who weren’t proven “breeders” could be divorced (and worse) without repercussion.

Women who have vaginas are pressured to have babies.

And we read further:

Yet there are some single African-American women who are not emotionally ready to adopt an African-American child who is too dark, some adoption agency officials say.

Fair-skinned or biracial children stand a better chance of being adopted by single black women than darker-skinned children, some adoption officials say.

“They’ll say, ‘I want a baby to look like a Snickers bar, not dark chocolate,’ ” Caldwell, founder of Lifetime Adoption, says about some prospective parents.

“I had a family who turned a baby down because it was too dark,” she says. “They said the baby wouldn’t look good in family photographs.”

So according to CNN not even black people want black babies anymore but there are associations against white people (or people who look white) adopting black/white transracially.  Apparently everyone these days wants their kid looking kinda Starbucks-latte-add-a-shot colored. How’s that for inappropriate skintone comparisons?

You know what?  My kids weren’t adopted by the foster parent they’d been with for two years because they were white.  They weren’t removed because their social worker was looking to reunite them with their race (or people who looked like their race.)  They were removed because the only woman they ever knew as mom was black and didn’t want to adopt white kids.  This is in their paperwork – seriously.  This is on paper.  They were removed when my daughter learned her Crayola colors and said “Mom, why are you brown and I’m pink?”

When we did our homestudy, you should have seen the caseworker give me the stink-eye when the race question came up.  I had marked that we wanted a black or bi-racial sibling group because not one baby born to my siblings has turned out white, there’s plenty of media on these dark-skinned kids getting split up, and we believed it would make the transition easier overall. I thought those were good reasons, right?  We even met a whole lot of kids who were legally free for adoption – who still haven’t been adopted – where we turned in our homestudy to ask for consideration and were turned down.

Instead, we were asked to “consider” legal-risk foster-to-adopt of two school age Caucasian girls and we did.  That didn’t work out so hot and we took placement of A&E, then found L (one of their bio siblings) in a group home.  After nearly three years and more court than I’ve ever wanted to be in and more heartache than I ever wanted to go through we’ve finally adopted.

<deleted a whole bunch of ranting no one really wants to read>

Seriously, the media has to stop playing the race issue.  More and more our cultural heritage comes from our socio-economic status.  White people live in the projects and black people live in the trailer parks* these days.  Everyone is having a tough time.  Don’t we have actual news to report on?

* To make the housing reference really clear:  it’s said that white people live in trailer parks because they don’t like sharing walls with other people and black people live in apartments because they’d rather deal with people than tornadoes.  I think it has to do more with urban vs. rural living, but hey, that’s the story I get.

Girl Stuff

1 07 2009

Dudes may not want to read this post. Fair warning.

I finally called the doctor today about getting my uterus removed.  It’s pretty useless to have a reproductive organ that doesn’t actually reproduce, but now it’s trying to kill me.  I still had that stupid, stupid hope that somehow after or during the adoption, something would magically happen to get me pregnant.

But now I have three kids and they’re mine like, forever, and stuff.

I just know that it would be dumb of me to wait as long as my mom did to get rid of this nuisance.  It’s another fun part of my great genetics – not only do I not ovulate, my body missed the memo on how during my period, I’m only supposed to lose a small amount of the lining that builds up.

When my sister finally had to have hers taken out after a failed ablation, then infection, the doctor was just flummoxed.  It happened to my mom in her 30’s too – it just won’t stop bleeding. I’ve been tested for von Willebrand’s, my sister was tested for hemmoragic infection, and all our horomone levels have been checked like 100 times.  There’s just something wrong that makes no sense.

I was in the bath for like 45 mins last night and soaked a super-plus tampon and when I pulled it out, it was like pulling the plug in a bathtub.  I seriously grossed myself out for the first time in forever. Then this morning, I woke up covered in blood like some weird pyscho horror movie.  At least the way I was laying, it didn’t get on the light color sheets – that happened last month and I’m sure our mattress pad could do without any more stains.

I’ve reached the point of not hoping for any miracles.  My 3 babies are miracle enough, even though they didn’t come from this fucked up uterus and I’ll never know what they were like as infants.  I’m giving up thinking of embryo adoption or even trying other treatments that we didn’t get to before the migraines started.  I’m giving up on hoping that my sister will donate her eggs, because mine suck when my body does decide to ovulate.

Why am I so upset?  It’s not like I WANT a 4th child or even feel an overwhelming need to be pregnant.  I saw how hard it was on my sister and her birth to her son was way more than enough to want me to ever give birth.  It’s just a chapter of my life that’s officially over.  I’m no longer in the process of family-building.  Now, I’m part of a family.

God, when you said fearfully and wonderfully made, why’d you forget my uterus?