Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Friday, February 19, 2016

All The Ways To Wait

I've been thinking on what it feels like, the waiting period between getting that amazing call that you could be considered for a profile opportunity and the call that gives you an update -- yes or no? Back to the wait or in an entirely different wait?

I remember the dreaded two-week-wait, and there are definitely some similarities. But there are significant differences, too.

In both, I am waiting for a phone call that will feasibly either change our life or leave us yet again with nothing.

In both, I stare at my phone, willing it to ring, and when it does my heart jumps into my throat along with a hint of vomit and I hope it's a good call.

In both, the person on the other line tries to sound neutral until the bomb is dropped.

I have a lot of experience with not-good calls. I only had one glorious moment when my RE himself called on a Saturday morning and the joy was just palpable through the phone, "Jessica, you know there's only ONE REASON why I would be calling you on a Saturday..." and my heart jumped into my throat in an entirely different way as he said the words we'd been hoping to hear for three long years -- "You're PREGNANT!" Unfortunately, that amazing call was followed up two weeks later with the devastating call that my levels had dropped from 2,000 something (admittedly low for where I was in the pregnancy) to 200-something. Such a big drop that they ran it twice, sure that a lab tech had forgotten a zero or two somewhere.

And then every call after that for two and a half long years was a negative, or a cancellation, or other various and sundry bad news.

So I can only hope that one day I will get a good-news call.

The waiting for an adoption call once you are being profiled is also incredibly different than that two-week-wait Pregnant/Not Pregnant/Uncertain call.

For one, there's no guarantee of a timeframe. With infertility, I knew EXACTLY when that call was coming, just not what time of day. It was torture from about 11:30 until as late as 4. With this kind of waiting, you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA when that call could come...it could be a day later, it could be two weeks later, and it is 100% up to someone making the most difficult decision of her life.

Because the other difference is there's no way to guess. There's no cheating and peeing on a stick early justincase. There's no feeling your boobs for swelling and hoping it's a growing nugget and not just the progesterone-in-oil. There's no Toilet Paper Watch for implantation bleeding, which I had both times I was pregnant. There's no figuring out at what point in hatch-and-attaching HCG levels would be high enough to risk peeing on a stick with an HCG threshold of 25, because your clinic does two weeks even though it was a blast that was transferred and you can TOTALLY test early and get a result. To be fair, none of these things are guarantees. You can have all the symptoms and come up negative. And vice-versa. It's actually a blessing to have my body out of the mix, to have nothing but the silence of the phone to look to for answers.

At the same time, your imagination can run rampant. You can come up with all sorts of scenarios as to why an update is taking longer than expected, why the phone isn't ringing. You can have a nightmare (utterly illogical) thought that the agency forgot about you and the decision was made and you didn't make it and they forgot to call you. You can think that maybe she's changed her mind about placing her child at all, and they don't know how to tell you (of course they'd know how to tell you, that's WHAT THEY DO). You can think maybe she liked your book, and then she looked closer and noticed a wrinkle here or a gray hair there and decided you're too old to raise her baby. Or that your pictures were weird, or your Dear Birth Mother Letter was somehow offensive, although you've been assured that your book in of itself would not be the reason why you'd be knocked out of the running.

You can go the other way, too, thinking that there's some big family pow-wow and it's taking longer because you were loved so much that before the call is made the expectant mother wants to share all around. Or you can see every day that goes by as a day that this momentous decision is being weighed very carefully, as it should be, and that if you are chosen then you will know for sure that you are CHOSEN.

But again, like feeling your boobs and staring at toilet paper and analyzing twingey feelings in your uterus, you have NO REAL INFORMATION until that call actually comes. Until the bloodwork is definitive. Until the update is in and the decision has been made.

If you're not chosen, well then you try to figure out why not (and blatantly ask, as I did with our first profile call, and maybe get an answer -- ours wasn't why we weren't chosen but why someone else was, resemblance in extended family makeup). And you go back to waiting an indeterminate amount of time for another chance to wait for real, for the phone to ring and present you with another profile opportunity, and you hope it doesn't take another five months to receive one. It feels like square one, sort of, but not really. Because now you know what to expect when a call comes in, and you know that you CAN be called. Going back to the amorphous wait, thought, is hard.

If you are fortunate enough to be chosen, you have an entirely different kind of wait ahead of you. A tenuous period of "is this real?" until that baby is born and surrenders are signed and you can breathe your first sigh of relief until any additional revocation period is over and then the glorious day of finalization comes. But in that time, you are expecting a real, non-theoretical baby, and you can plan and get excited but with the tiniest voice in the back of your head going, "I hope this is for real." Because you could wait and be excited and even have a due date of sorts, and then in those 72 hours surrounding birth changes could happen. Or even earlier. You don't know.

In that time you can choose to be cautiously optimistic and run with the optimism, because nothing will change the outcome of that decision until its made, until the ink is on the papers. And the baby is her baby all the way until that moment comes, and then after that the baby is in a very real way our baby, all of us together in this mosaic of biology and biography, as Lori Lavender Luz would put it.

All that waiting. All that uncertainty. All that joy, ever-so-slightly tempered by the fear of risk, from the moment that phone rings. It can make your head spin. But without this waiting and uncertainty and complexity, we won't become parents. We won't have the chance to raise a tiny human to be an amazing person. We won't have the chance to know the woman who brought that tiny human into this world and made the decision that is amazing and heartrending and deserves all the time in the world to make.

So it's okay, we'll wait.

12 comments:

  1. Wow Jess. I don't know if you can see it or feel it, but you are growing so much through this process. Every post you write shows your growth, as a writer and beyond. Your last 2 sentences...just WOW. You are amazing, and I pray your day to give all your amazingness to a tiny human comes very soon. Mystery baby will be so lucky to have you.

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    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate the compliment! Thanks for your thoughts.

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  2. You are not alone in your wait! Waiting with you!

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  3. You bring up some many important points with this post. There are similarities with waiting during TTC and the 2 week wait, but there are some stark differences. And many of these things would have the average human tearing their hair out.

    I'm glad you're so mindful with your wait. Hoping that this period is one that you continue to meet with peace.

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    1. Thank you so much! It isn't that one is better than the other, because it's so difficult to be in either situation... but yeah, there's so much incredible uncertainty that is definitely hair-tearing worthy. I am hopeful that one day we will have this wait end and can look at it from the perspective of the other side... :) Thank you for your thoughts!

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  4. Waiting sucks; it's one of my most hated things. But in this entry you change your perspective to make waiting something meaningful to be embraced; it's really quite awesome. I think another way that adoption waiting is different from waiting for/through pregnancy is that the drama is not happening inside your body. Obviously I have only experienced one side here but it *seems* to me like it might be slightly less agonizing to not have your own body be part of the picture. Mostly though, I hope you csn continue to wait mindfully and that all of these experiences fold into a beautiful family story, soon!

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    1. Thank you! It is DEFINITELY less agonizing to not have my body in the mix, but not having a timeframe for any communication and having so many moveable parts is tortuous as well. I am grateful that I don't have to look back on what I ate or did physically during the wait and see where I screwed up that resulted in a negative, as I did when I waited to see if I was pregnant (and didn't get the answer I was looking for). I do miss knowing that a call would come on a certain day though. Staring at the phone for days on end without knowing when an update will come for a baby that could come in a few months or a few weeks (or even days!) is nerve-wracking. But it will end in goodness, and I love the idea of everything folding into a beautiful family story, and soon! :)

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  5. This comment is in response to a totally different post but I'm so tired I can't find it... I wanted to share that I talked to our HR rep today (she is so kind, she helped me with everything during my month in the hospital and several months at home afterwards). She guided us to discover that while we have certain limits on our FMLA/sick time for adoption the work around is to have a dr/counselor "prescribe" FMLA for either the baby as needed bonding or for us as needed for the transition to parenting an adopted child (should we be so lucky). I recognize that you may have exhausted all your options and this may be totally irrelevant but if even the smallest chance existed to be able to have a better leave option, I wanted to share.

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    1. Thank you so much! I could totally get a doctor's note stating that it's imperative to bond, but I was basically informed that that is hard to get (by my own doctor and then by my HR person), and that it would be hard to prove that I needed the time, not the baby, in order to use my sick leave. It's an interesting thought though and I one I may explore. I am hoping so hard that paid FMLA goes through before a placement does, because I do get unpaid FMLA but that 6-12 weeks of pay would be so amazing to offset everything else and give us a good head start on the eventual costs of daycare and whatnot. I am hoping for you, too, and hoping that we both get the leave that is right and just for us and our babies. Shouldn't be so freaking hard.

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  6. Oh Jess, I can only imagine how hard it is to wait for those calls not knowing when they will come and what news they will bear. Waiting can be agony!!! But you've put such a beautiful and thoughtful spin on it...when you do finally meet Mystery Baby, he/she will be sooo worth the wait (which I know you already know, or else you wouldn't endure the waiting).

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    1. Thank you so much! Yup, it's hard alright. It's okay though... one day the wait will end and we'll enter a whole new arena!

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