Don’t call us, we’ll call you

April 24, 2012

A new story of my life, part II

Click here for part I.

I usually don’t write about something until I’ve mentally determined its structure, figured out some semblance of a beginning, middle, and end.  But this new story is so full of different threads, and so far from its end, that I am still only guessing at what its “parts” might be.  But I think the next part is about my miscarriage in December 2008.

When I think about it now, I get a good chuckle from the way I suddenly became a computer-game-playing, Reality-Steve-reading Bachelor junkie.  But at the same time, I cannot downplay the fact that I was in a pretty deep depression for many months.  I had wanted to start trying for a baby as soon as we got married — my “biological clock,” which only started gently ticking around 25, was clanging by 27 — but I was still in the middle of a string of neck surgeries, and the two situations were mutually exclusive.  I think I always had a sense that I was in a race against time . . . my health was probably not going to get better with age, so I needed to get some babies here as soon as possible.  I was hoping for at least 3, maybe 4.  I think the thing that surprised me the most when I did miscarry was how fiercely I was grieving for that baby, the one that I had never actually seen or held or heard.  It wasn’t about setting my timetable back, or running out of time, or wondering if I was capable of having a healthy pregnancy.  I just wanted my baby that I already felt this undeniable connection to.

Oh, that longing was fierce and persistent — even during my pregnancy with Addison.  How I finally moved past that feeling is really just a side-note to this broader story I’m trying to tell, but since I’ve never recorded it, this seems as good a time as any.  The turning point for me came in October 2009 when I was discussing labor and delivery techniques with my friend Kjell.  She said, kind of off-handedly with no particular gravity, “Do you think this baby is the same one you miscarried?”  Perhaps I said maybe or I don’t know or I’m not sure.  Of course, the thought had occurred to me as I contemplated many questions related to perinatal loss.  But for some reason that day in early October, the suggestion struck me in a different way.  Neal had felt that our first baby was a girl.  And we had just found out definitively that we were now expecting a girl, and so I just let that possibility sit with me.  Maybe this new baby girl is the same spirit, coming to a body that can sustain her life in a way the first one could not.  Now, I should make it clear that I didn’t know if that was the case, and I still don’t; but there was enough comfort there that I was finally able to let go of that baby I had tried so hard to hold on to.  So thanks for that, Kjell (I don’t think I’ve ever told you that).

But let’s back up a few months, back to the central story.  After six months of heavy grieving and depression, I was finally ready to try for another baby.  It didn’t take too long to get pregnant, but things weren’t looking too good from the start.  By eight weeks along, I had already been to urgent care and a doctor and my midwife, trying to figure out if the problems I was having were pregnancy-related or just coincidental new health problems.  Just before we took off on our blockbuster summer vacation in July, our midwife told us to prepare for the worst.  We mostly tried to relax and have fun on our trip, but we also made the decision that if this pregnancy didn’t take, we would shift our focus to adoption.  The midwife had told us that she thought I was capable of delivering a healthy child, but that it might take three or four miscarriages to get there.  And when you’re still in the middle of grieving a miscarriage that happened eight months before, you just know you can’t do that three more times.

Needless to say, our adoption talk subsided when I didn’t miscarry and Addison turned out to be a miraculous fighter.  We had our hands full trying to manage the pregnancy, and then a newborn, and then postpartum depression — adoption was no longer on the radar.  I can hardly pin down when the shift in our discourse came about, but eventually we were questioning whether adoption would ever be a good idea for us.  The new conventional wisdom was this: if I had such a difficult time accepting the loss of a baby that had only barely been present, how would I handle losing a baby or child I had held and rocked and soothed?  (Something that does not always happen in adoption, but is common enough that it must be considered.)  We would talk over different types of adoption (I had a decent amount of foundational knowledge from my work at CORE and the fact that I have four adopted cousins) and weigh the possibilities, but it was starting to sink in how emotionally difficult that path might be, and whether I was capable of dealing with it.  Combine that questioning and self-doubt with my still-clanging biological clock, and I became convinced that we should shoot for another biological child.  I felt that it could work out, that the pregnancy wasn’t as bad as Neal remembered, that maybe we could ask for another little miracle and get it.  In short, I bargained.

It’s actually interesting for me to go back and read my bargaining and acceptance posts because I can see just how dichotomous my thinking was only three short months ago: have another biological child or have only one child.  The idea that I wasn’t cut out for adoption, that I couldn’t endure its risks with strength or sanity had become so firmly rooted.  Which is why it was nothing short of miraculous when just a week later, I had this little glimpse of the future and I knew that we would be adoptive parents.

I will have to get stronger before that time comes.  Learn a lot more about the process.  Assess our parental capabilities.  Create an income stream.  Shed some emotional baggage.  Start getting out of bed again (not depressed, just still in a tough place health-wise).  But there’s a child or two coming our way (maybe already born) — I’m certain of it.

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11 Comments »

  1. There’s so much in this post that makes me want to get up and hug you for a long time. And there’s so much I feel like I can relate to. The first time we did IVF and all our fertilized embryos died, I thought that part of me died with them. To be so tantalized with the promise of life and life that came from the person I love the most in the world….yeah, that still makes me cry when I think about it. And I mourn the loss of your first baby too 😦
    As you know, you are the only person who will know if/when you’re ready to adopt, but as an adopted child, I can definitely say that while I don’t know if you’ll have an “easy” time of it, I know that I would have loved to have you and Neal as parents. I deeply hope that this process will bring you more joy than heartache. And I find your last sentence so hopeful–just think, that baby might already be here!

    Comment by kei02003 — April 24, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  2. I have a freind here who does a lot of work with adoption- she has 3 adopted kids herself. If you need a resource, i know she would be delighted to talk with you. I also have 4 adopted cousins, they are amazing nd so special to our family. Good luck with your new story.

    Comment by kdicaro — April 24, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

    • Thanks, Katie! I know I will need lots of resources like that. I will get in touch with you about getting her info.

      Comment by llcall — April 24, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

  3. I’m so excited and happy for you. I know what a gift it is to have hope, and even better, some certainty, about good things to come in life. I’m glad that you have a sense of what you’re working toward and what you can look forward to. I’d love to give you a big hug (like Emily) now too!

    Comment by v. blanchard — April 25, 2012 @ 1:16 am

  4. Wow, this is big, awesome, wondrous news. If anyone is capable of making an informed decision about adoption, it is definitely you. I have faith that you both will be incredible adoptive parents. I’m excited to hear more chapter updates and see how this beautiful new story unfolds. Love you.

    Comment by Jen — April 25, 2012 @ 1:37 am

  5. Yay! How exciting!! It sounds like you’ve found the perfect fit. I know you will be a wonderful adoptive mama, because you are already so good with Addison. She is so smart and capable already – any baby who comes to your family will be blessed!

    Comment by Kristin — April 25, 2012 @ 3:30 am

  6. I’m so happy that you’ve received answers and clarity to questions regarding your future family. What a blessing! So excited to see what’s in store.

    Comment by acmorrill — April 25, 2012 @ 6:23 am

  7. I’m so happy you’ve received answers and clarity regarding your future family. What a blessing! Can’t wait to see what’s in store! 🙂

    Comment by acmorrill — April 25, 2012 @ 6:24 am

  8. PS … acmorrill is Jenn. 🙂

    Comment by acmorrill — April 25, 2012 @ 6:25 am

  9. Lindsay, I wanted to tell you how much I’ve appreciated your kind and empathetic comments on my blog. You know, sometimes just knowing someone loves you and knows how you feel is much more helpful than any amount of advise or physical help. Thank you for reaching out to me, and thank you for sharing your honest writing with us. Seeing someone work out feelings and thoughts on their life helps me to make sense of my own. Praying for you.

    Comment by Anna Peterson — April 30, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  10. Oh my goodness how did this super exciting post sit in my google reader for so long?? I love adoption sooo much! I’m inspired by the immense faith behind your statement that you know you will be adoptive parents. Know that my faith is being added to yours!

    Comment by Nikki Devey — May 14, 2012 @ 4:03 pm


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