Looking Back & Looking Forward
As I sat around on Thanksgiving weekend, I couldn’t help but realize that it has officially been one year since we first really began to realize that we would probably never have biological children.
After 5 losses, and countless heartache, more medical procedures then I’d like to remember, we decided to seek out the expertise of a specialist in Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.
At our appointment with the specialist, with a quick switch on an ultrasound machine, he quickly discovered that one of our biggest problems was reversed blood flow out of my uterus. I was heartbroken to learn that my body was essentially slowly killing each of our babies as they could not survive without proper nourishment. While we had to wait weeks for a final diagnosis and protocol, we began immediately discussing possible treatment options. Thanks to some advanced insight, we knew our options in our province in Canada were limited at best.
Our doctor felt very strongly that if we continued to try under his watch and protocol that we’d eventually end up with a living child. In fact, he was very optimistic.
But, for us*, we also knew that his optimism wasn’t exactly practical in our real world:
- The logistics and costs of biweekly flights across the continent for medications not covered by our health insurance and not available locally really weren’t a wise investment.
- Putting me on some medications that are considered higher risk to our future child wasn’t a desirable solution.
- Lacking proper medical oversight locally wasn’t a great strategy.
- And on a larger scale, we knew my mental health was fragile after living through so many hard losses. And we knew my physical health was less then ideal as my body had been through so much already.
- There are no guarantees that his treatment and all the accompanying costs would result in a live and healthy baby.
So that weekend, while enjoying the sights of New York City, Mr. MPB and I talked a lot. We talked about our options. We talked about what we really wanted in life. By the time we caught our flight home a few days later, we both knew that if our final diagnosis was as bad as we were expecting we were done trying. We made a point not to make any final decisions while we were in NYC and that we would only move forward once we were both 100% committed to the same action plan. As two very practical and pragmatic individuals we decided that we needed to do our homework and research surrogacy, gestational carriers, local infant open adoption vs international closed adoption, local foster adoption, international infant open adoption, childless (or childfree depending on one’s perspective), trying again with our local doctors, and trying the new out of country treatment plan. We needed to think about what we both really wanted in life, and what we thought we could handle. We needed to dig deep within ourselves both individually and as a couple. We needed to be true to our concerns, our fears and our life hopes and dreams.
Looking back, I think we both knew walking out of the clinic in NYC that our family plans were forever changed from what had naively assumed for so many years.
And yet, I think we also both knew that we would still have child(ren). We just knew we’d find a way because at the end of the day our hearts belong to our future child. So, we knew we would just have to go about it in a different way then most.
And so today, I want to acknowledge that not once in my life did I ever think I’d go through 5 pregnancies, including one termination, and have no living children. I look back at what we went through and I still have no idea how we survived and how we came through it all with individual sanity and our marriage thriving.
And even more, I sure never thought that I’d be in a position where we’d would be adopting a child. I never for a second though we’d want to invite the complexities of a birth family into our lives. I never thought I’d become so well educated in all things adoption. I never imagined we would sit in a perfect strangers home learning all about adoption and realizing that we can actually do this and it really isn’t that scary. Nor did I ever expect to be attending various social gatherings with birth parents and adoptive parents all learning how to navigate life together. And, I sure never thought that we’d be stretching to pay exorbitant international adoption bills.
If nothing else, these last few years have forced me to realize that life doesn’t always go the way we thought it would. And sometimes, life doesn’t even go in a way we could ever even have attempted to envision, even if we tried. And, sometimes that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, because for us, adoption is not at all a bad thing, it’s actually a great thing and I already believe it’s the best decision we could have made.
And, while waiting for an adoption match and placement is equivalent to the wait from hell, in other ways this wait is easier then any of my past waits because I know our family is at the end of the road. So, I’m confident that even if it takes everything we have, we’ll get through this wait and this frustration.
So, while my arms are still empty, my heart is full and my mamma bear instincts are percolating under the surface. And I know without a doubt that a percolating mamma bear is better then any other alternative.
* I respect that we all make our own decisions related to infertility and loss. We chose what was best for us, and realize that what is best for us may not be the same as others.
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