Breastfeeding my Adopted baby (part 2): The Hospital

breastfeedingmy-adoptedbaby-girl

The expectant mother (J) and I had discussed how we see the hospital stay going. She had asked us to be in the room during the birth of our child.

 OUR CHILD = The child belonging to J, Me & my husband

That was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I will never forget it… but alas that is for another post.

J had wanted to try to pump after baby was born to give her as much of her own nourishment as possible, but she wasn’t emotionally able to nurse. I was 100% for whatever she was comfortable with doing.

While she was in the throws of labor, her milk was leaking everywhere. We ended up having to wrap her in a towel.

Oh, to watch labor and not really be able to do anything to help… not my favorite. Luckily she was open to me using my essential oils with her which helped her (and me) to relax a little… again that’s for another post.

We spoke with the charge nurse and notified her of our feeding plan – we would need help getting a pump for J after birth to feed our sweet girl. The nurses said it was likely no problem but that their “official” lactation consultant (lc) would have to be there to facilitate.

After baby girl was born we had to wait 2 hours before a lc was available to help us with feeding baby girl. I was getting very worried that baby girl hadn’t had anything to eat yet, but no one else seemed worried so I tried to push it off. At 8am a woman came in and we discussed what we needed. She returned around 9am and stated that it was hospital policy not to let anyone use the hospital breast pump unless the child was in the NICU.

She continued to say that she could help J hand express the milk into a spoon. So away they went, milking poor J into a spoon. J didn’t care though, she would do whatever she had to do to get the milk to our little girl. We were able to get 10ml into baby girl with a small needless syringe. (My daughter has the most incredible birth mom EVER! I love them both so much.)

Next was my turn! At least they could help me …. right?

I asked the lc if she could help me work on a good latch. I had my Supplemental Nursing System, so just needed some help from the professionals to get going. She was almost embarrassed as she said this…

“I cannot help you because you are not a patient of the hospital and we don’t know what fluids you would be feeding the baby”

Say what?

Seriously?

“Fluids”?????

Ok, here is the deal. I was not producing milk and hadn’t started on any protocol to begin producing milk. I had just the Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) filled with formula to feed her.

I took what she said and just stewed… because I am non-confrontational. So I stew and pretended to say super intellectual things to the nurses, the lactation consultants, the hospital board… to make them feel less than. So There! And then I cried a little while no one was looking.

I asked the nurses for a premade bottle of formula so I could at least get some food in her.

I was heart broken. I don’t know why, I wasn’t the one that wanted to do this breastfeeding thing. It was everyone else around me. I was being pushed into this experience by surrounding forces. That’s what I’m telling myself. Truly, I really wanted to try it.

its-a-girlWe got into our own post-pardum room with just hubby, me and baby. I decided to youtube “how to breastfeed your baby the first time”… after scrolling through all the birth videos I got to some basic helpful videos to get started.

Basically my understanding was.

  1. Feed boob like sandwhich.
  2. Shove it in as far as possible
  3. Baby will know what to do.
  4. It shouldn’t hurt.

So here I go. Fill supplemental system with formula. Line up sns hose with nipple… line babys nose up with nipple.. wait for open mouth. Shove nipple and lots of boob into babys mouth. Well that didn’t go as well as I had hoped.

We tried it a few times. She latched a little once or twice, but didn’t seem to be pulling the milk through the tube. She was getting hungry and I was getting frustrated. I tried with a different sized tube (there are 3 sizes). None of them seemed to work for us.

The SNS was a giant pain in the ass and I didn’t know how to use it. Here is a picture so you can kind of understand what I was going through. My basic assumption from my readers is that you may have already breastfed before so you understand the difficulty of the latch. Now add a tiny hose. There are videos on youtube kind of showing (as much as they can) how it’s supposed to work.

NOT SHEILA'S ACTUAL BOOB OR BABY
**NOT SHEILA’S BOOB OR BABY**

 Initial feeling – unworthiness.

 I didn’t deserve to breastfeed this baby. This isn’t even MY baby! J could potentially change her mind (even though she stated SEVERAL times that baby girl was staying with me). I’m just wasting my time and emotional energy.

 It was a silly thought anyway.

The bottle works just fine.

I will just do skin to skin instead.

She will attach just fine without breastfeeding.

Hopefully.

Forget it.

I quit.

SC

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**Update: I called the head lactation consultant (Is that a thing? I guess so) at the hospital and had a long conversation with her. She asked that I write an email to her supervisor (the one who made that policy), which I did.  It was intellectual, educational, and not down putting. I have not received a response. I will likely find someone else to email and call soon. This doesn’t need to happen to another family. Its a silly policy. (Memorial North, Colorado Springs, CO. Contact me if you want the contact info so you can also send a letter dictating the importance of attachment those first few hours in the hospital.)

Breastfeeding my adopted baby (part 1): When God Shouts….

breastfeedingmy-adoptedbaby-girl

 

The day we found out that we had been matched with an expectant mother, is a day I will never forget. Over the phone I heard… expectant mom… baby girl… can you come now?

A few facts about me

  • I’ve never been pregnant past a few weeks along.
  • I’ve never attempted breastfeeding before.
  • I had no intention of breastfeeding.

Immediately my body reacted. My head hurt, my brain was on overdrive, I was shaking and pacing around my house trying to figure out what to do next. Yes, the obvious thing was to get going, but baby stuff.. clothes… carseat… brain.. where did I put my BRAIN!! But something else also happened, my breasts became tender immediately.. and my uterus started cramping… maybe not so much cramping as pulsing?? I have no idea how to describe what I was feeling but I was feeling SOMETHING.

Over the next 2 weeks of getting to know the expectant family, my “feelings” intensified. Constantly sore breasts, constantly sore abdomen. It’s almost as if my body was preparing to give birth.

I went to see my spiritual counselor and she asked me if I had planned on breastfeeding the baby. I looked at her, because I felt as if she had read my mind. I felt my body was pushing me this direction. I’ve looked into it, but it seems so difficult. Especially for someone who has never even been pregnant. She suggested I give it a go.

A few days later I spoke with my agency social worker, she asked if I was planning on breastfeeding the baby. Apparently the expectant mother was hoping I could attempt it. I was surprised, but also everything within me was saying I’M GIVING YOU EVERY POSSIBLE SIGN!! PAY ATTENTION!!

I told the social worker I was considering it. My entire body ached… my body had already decided. My brain had some catching up to do.

I researched the protocol.

Step 1: Take birth control for 8-12 weeks.
– I had been on birth control preparing for our embryo transfer. Check.

Step 2: Start pumping every 2 hours for at least 8-12 weeks. Or feed baby every 2 hours with a supplemental nursing system.
– I don’t have a pump.
– I like my sleep
– I don’t have a baby

Step 3: Start taking supplements to increase your prolactin.
– Prolactin? I’ve heard that word before.
– Google search:
Prolactin (PRL), also known as luteotropic hormone or luteotropin, is a protein that in humans is best known for its role in enabling mammals, usually females, to produce milk.
– Email Search: AHH YES!
From my fertility nurse 3 days prior to finding out about baby: Your prolactin level came back slightly elevated, we need to recheck to make sure everything is alright. It is ok to be elevated if you are breastfeeding, but you are not so we need so recheck it.

Ok Ok Ok… I’m not losing my mind.

So let me get this straight, my body knew before my agency knew that my baby was coming. I mean, that sounds totally reasonable.

WHAT THE F&#! IS HAPPENING!!!

REFOCUS

Supplements I need to consider:
1. Essential Oils (fennel & Basil)
2. Herbs (Blessed Thissle, FenuGreek, Nettle Herb, Fennel Seed, Goats Rue)

Drugs to consider:

  1. Domparidone (Not FDA approved or available in the US, but easily purchased online with a secret handshake of sorts) … this seems sketchy. I’m in.

*I’ll write up a separate post notating the importance of each of these supplements and drugs.

Decision Time:
How deep am I going to go into this journey.

I don’t have to dive deep at all.

I could just try it and see what happens.

I could take no supplements and just use the supplementation device.

Yes.

That seems like a good plan.

The least amount of work. I’m sure that is what God is saying to me. Because why would he be SHOUTING at me if he wanted me to put in 100% effort. Ok, I’m clearly dense but this is what I’m going with for now.

I could look at it as the most astounding way to connect and attach with my adopted child… milk or no milk.

when-god-shouts-i-listen

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Learning about Embryo Adoption

Last year my husband and I finally found out WHY we can’t have children (after 8 years of infertility). Having unexplained infertility is infuriating… talk about total loss of control. It turns out that I have balanced translocation. Basically not all of my eggs work properly. (My little ginger eggs are as stubborn as I am apparently) So we opted to try embryo adoption. I had been told that I have a beautiful uterus (umm… thanks?), so why not try this option. For us, embryo adoption was lower cost than domestic adoption. We are looking at adopting another infant, so this seemed to be the best option for us. Potentially quicker and potentially less expensive.

So lets start from the top:

Infertility rates in the United States are around 11%; that means 1 in 9 of your friends have experienced or are experiencing infertility. Of these infertile families, just 3% go on to perform procedures like InVitro Fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant. The current statistics for success rates are only 47% pregnancy rate for women under 35. So generally families require several tries to get pregnant. (http://www.resolve.org/about/fast-facts-about-fertility.html)

Once a family gets pregnant and has as many children as they want, they have options on what to do with their remaining embryos.  There are generally 3 options: Destroy the embryos, donate them to science, or donate them to a family in need.  That being said, there are still over 600,000 embryos in storage in the United States right now.

Say a family wants to adopt out their remaining embryos. They have several options including leaving their embryos in storage for a price. They could find a family on their own to donate their embryos too. This would be considered a private donation.  I’m still learning a lot about private embryo donation, so I won’t go into that here. Families that don’t opt to go the private route could opt to place their embryos with the NEDC (National embryo Donation Center) or they could contact Nightlight Snowflakes program. So with both agency programs, you basically enter into an online embryo dating site. Both families with embryos and families looking for embryos have to create a profile.

My experience lies with Nightlights snowflake program so I’ll go into what we did there:

Once our profile was in, the agency had a team who reviewed both our profile and embryo donor profiles. They would try to play matchmaker and match us up with the most compatible family. Honestly, they did an amazing job! I loved the family they matched us with. We had a ton in common and agreed very much on the type of contact we would had once the embryos became little people. We had 5 high quality frozen embryos to work with, though they had been frozen over 10 years ago!

It took almost 3 months from the time of matching to the time of transfer. This was because the biological family needed to get extra testing for National and Colorado Laws. My husband also had to get some testing done (even though his parts weren’t involved in any part of the process). We also had to ship the embryos to Colorado from Maryland. Originally we had planned to travel to to the east coast for the transfer, but the clinic in there wouldn’t allow embryo adoption procedures in their clinic. Our best guess was because the success rate for embryo adoption pregnancy rate success is just under 40% – thus it could decrease their overall success rates.

I figured the universe matched me with an amazing family for a reason – so I did my very best to be as positive as possible about the transfers. The exciting part is, I was pregnant… TWICE! The less exciting part is, both pregnancies ended within days of finding out.

I belong to a private group on facebook with hundreds of families succeeding in getting pregnant and giving birth to children from this process. It’s motivating to see how many have succeeded. I’d love to see some statistics on how many transfers it takes to get pregnant with embryo adoption.  This takes some serious science. Transferring living embryos (THAT WERE FROZEN!) into a person who has nothing more than a super comfy uterus to settle into for the next nine months. These little beings that do not have the same DNA as you – nor will they ever (despite wishful thinking).  There are more challenges than successes with embryo adoption. If you have emotions of steel (which after going through the amount of infertility it takes to get to this point, you likely have emotions of steel) I say go ahead and give it a shot. The families that have been made through embryo adoption are inspirational. I’m not quite sure I’m ready to jump into the procedure again, but I expect the universe to open a door for me one way or another. 

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Living in Limbo

Here are the Cliffs notes of our journey to being a mom and dad. 

Ten years ago, we got married. Eight years ago we decided we wanted to have children (YAY)! Seven years ago, we realized that it might take more than a few drinks and the back seat of my GEO METRO. Six years ago, we realized that we needed to work on our marriage before continuing the journey to become parents. Five years ago, we fought to stay married through tons of therapy and one on one time. Four years ago, we decided to adopt. Three years ago, we realized adoption is not the warm fuzzy everyone talks about… adoption is hard. Two years ago, we adopted our sweet boy (YAY)! One year ago, we were learning how to navigate an open adoption. Today, we are learning the second child may bring as many lessons as the first.

We are now in the process of working on becoming parents for a second time.  It only took us 5 years to get kiddo number 1, you’d think we could at least cut that time in half with #2? Well, it’s not looking like it. Infertility is the reason I have my beautiful son, it’s the reason I’ve gained so many amazing friends in the adoption community, and it’s the reason that I’m sitting in limbo right now. You see, we want more children. Many of our friends are sitting in the adoption pool going on 2 years now. We don’t want to wait that long and my husband and I had some negative experiences with adoption the first time around. We tried adopting embryos and transferring them – but that didn’t work. So here we sit. Option 1: call it quits and enjoy our little man as an only child. Option 2: adopt more embryos and try again (apparently I have the uterus many women would dream of) Option 3: Jump back into the domestic infant adoption pool.

I know, we are missing an option here: Foster Care. We talk about it every day. Foster care is a system that helps kids have safe temporary homes while their biological family gets their back on their feet. We are looking for a permanent family member at this point… preferably a human one.

In the mean-time, three more pregnancy announcements from Facebook friends.

Here we sit, in limbo.  We are living impatiently wondering if we are waiting for something that may never happen. Our kiddo is so much fun! His two year old self is Hilarious, Challenging, Smart as hell, and SO MUCH FUN! This makes life a thousand times easier.

 “You will get there when you are meant to get there and not one moment sooner. Relax, Breathe and be patient.” – Mandy Hale

 I often wonder how our choices on building our family will affect our son later on. I’m not talking about how it will affect him having a sibling, only good can come from learning to get along with another human being in your face all the time. (Life lesson #1: you will have annoyances you have to live with in your life, let a sibling be the first) What I’m talking about adopting another child. There are so many differences in each adoption out there. Currently we have a semi-open relationship with his birth mother. The relationship is good and we enjoy each other’s company. My concern is what if this new child (that is YEARS away from entering our lives) has a birth parent that wants more contact or even worse… wants no contact. How will that affect both children? If my son gets to see his birth family but the other child does not – it’s an unfair balance. It’s a balance I cannot control.

Another worry, what if we decide to do embryo adoption and I get pregnant. Again, I have to worry about the above, but also I have to explain that I was able to carry and give birth to this child, but not you. Now, I have no idea if kids even have a complex about this, but still I worry. It’s possible I’m creating concerns from nothing – but as a mom, I now think how every possible thing will affect my little guy who is our WHOLE WORLD at this moment.

What I’m coming to find (and should have long ago) is that I cannot control every part these situations. Even if two biological children born from the same mother, raised by the same parents, who go to the same school, have different experiences. Experiences shape our personality. For the good or for the bad – that is up to us – the person.  I hope I can be a good enough parent to help my child take the good in all of his life experiences.  I really hope I don’t screw him up too much.

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Trust In…. YOU!

The last few months I have been preparing my mind, body and spirit for the arrival of our snowflakes. In the process I have felt panicked to get some work done. So I purchased 2 properties at once, listed one of my other properties, and kicked my health coaching business into high gear.  What do any of these things have to do with my snowflakes? Well, I like to call it “financial nesting”.  I’m getting my businesses set up so I can put all of my thought and effort towards pregnancy and parenting.  Yet I feel I am neglecting my family now. There are so many ‘what ifs’ in this fertility process that I need to be present for myself and my family during that time.  What if it doesn’t take the first or second or EVEN third time? What if I miscarry? What if we get pregnant with multiples? What if I’m a miserable pregnant woman? What if I become that mom that I never wanted to become?

Well, through the process of “financial nesting”, I’ve managed to leverage myself (time and money) to the hilt. Buying, selling, borrowing, and scheduling all for the greater good!! I feel like one of those stock traders on wall street. But don’t worry, I’m the kind of ginger that can DO IT ALL!!

Nope… Nope I am definitely not that kind of ginger. I’m the kind that has panic attacks over the littlest of things. Why do I do these things to myself?

I see the potential of what my businesses can be and I’m racing to the finish line – except the finish line is about 5 years out.  It’s a great game plan and I’m fast forwarding through the next 2 years so I can be present… except at the current moment I am frazzled. Presently I’m frazzled so that in the future I can be present. You following? Good. Keep up.

I don’t trust that things will fall into place as I have planned.

Today I learned an important lesson. TRUST! Trust that your dreams will come to fruition if you follow through and KNOW that the universe has your back. Trust that God is watching and has your best interest at heart. Trust that you have surrounded yourself with good people so you are always taken care of.  Each day I have been saying these things to myself yet not truly believing them. TRUST SHEILA!

As of this morning, my bank account was literally down to $0 and I have several bills mounting up with all of my properties. My contractor is currently working without pay and my mortgage is due on another property that I own. I’m racking up credit card debt for the cost of materials for the flip with no way to pay that bill as well. With all of my mantras and deep breathing and meditation I just didn’t know how I could make it all work. Did I really TRUST that my people (high and low) would come through for me?

It turns out I should have. I had gone through all possible financials and couldn’t think of how I could come up with the funds I needed for the remainder of the month. And then it happened… My tenants, who I have had for the past four years, paid all of their back rent including late fees. Enough to pay my contractor, my bank, and my credit card.  I knew they owed me the money, I just didn’t expect it to be paid… at all. They had been through hard times and I had allowed them to fall behind.

Here is the thing, the tenants have to move out in 2 months because the property they live in recently sold to another family that wants to move in.  I feel as if I’m kicking them out.  Though, with about any other landlord they would have been evicted by now.

All a part of my master ‘financial nesting’ plan.

I need the gain from that property to pay for the next property so that the business can grow and our dreams to retire sooner rather than later can come true.  I don’t love being a landlord, yet it’s working for us. It’s a business after all.  They have always been good people and that’s why I’ve held onto this property for so long. The rent was too low and the cost to run it wasn’t worth the time. I’m glad I’ve been good to them as a landlord. I’m glad I trusted them to pay me when they could. Not many landlords have the means or the confidence to do that.

Makes me think about others I have been good too, but mostly to those I have not been so good too. Where in my life could I have done better? Imagine, had I put that positive intention out there earlier in my life… what amazing things could have happened? Imagine the possibilities for the future! It may not come around immediately, but ultimately you will receive that which you have given whether you asked for it or not.

 

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. 38“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure– pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”…

Luke 6:37

 

“Self-confidence is knowing that we have the capacity to do something good
and firmly decide not to give up.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

Lao Tzu

 

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45% chance of flurries

We are adopting again!!

Snowflake Embryo AdoptionBut this time we are going about it a little differently. This time we are adopting embryos. This is called Embryo adoption or Snowflake adoption. These little frozen embryos are each unique and all are truly a gift from God. Thus we have the term “snowflakes”.

There are over 600,000 healthy, viable embryos in the United states alone that are available for adoption!!

 

How it all works…

 

These little snowflake embryos are NOT biologically our embryos. Another family who went through infertility just like us had a successful round of IVF – they likely were able to have one or more children and were finished building their family. They then had embryos remaining – biologically theirs.

When going through IVF you have several options with your remaining embryos:

Use for Reproduction: You can keep the embryos for future attempts at pregnancy.  But you should plan for some expenses as the fertility clinic charges a storage fee even between IVF cycles.

Donate to Research:  If your fertility clinic has a partnership with a research facility you can donate your embryos to various types of medical and scientific research.

Donate to Another Couple: You can choose to donate your embryos to an infertile couple in hopes that they have a baby.

Freeze Indefinitely: Some patients choose to store their embryos with their clinic indefinitely.  This can be a costly option as the clinics will charge either per month or per year for storage.  Sometimes patients feel this is their only choice because they are unaware of the other options.

Thaw & Discard: The embryos are taken out of storage by the clinic, thawed in the lab, and at that point they stop growing and dividing.

Perform A Disposal Ceremony: You can take the embryos from the fertility clinic and dispose of them as you see fit, such as having a personal ceremony or creating a special moment to come to closure regarding the embryos.

Receive A Compassionate Transfer: You can talk to your doctor about transferring your embryos at a time in your cycle when there is no chance for you to become pregnant. Your body will take care of the embryos naturally.

We will be taking the embryos that a couple has chosen to donate to us. In fact, that family gets to choose us (similar to that of domestic adoption). We will have a semi-open adoption with this family since the children will be 100% biological siblings.

Since Justin and I cannot create a viable embryo together due to balanced translocation and likely other unseen incompatibilities we have together, we will be transferring someone else’s embryo into me (Sheila… it would be weird if they could do it with Justin). I will carry the embryo the same as a surrogate would carry a child. The great thing about embryo adoption is that all of the adoption paperwork is done up front. So the adoption is complete by the time the embryo(s) are transplanted into me. Upon giving birth, the child(ren) are 100% legally ours.  Just like with domestic infant adoption, we are going through an adoption agency: Nightlight Christian Adoptions

Isn’t that crazy!! Well, I think it is. We are so excited to start this process. Hopefully we will be announcing some exciting news in the next 12 months.  We really have no idea on the time frame of when this can all take place. It depends on how quickly we get chosen and where we will have to travel too for the procedure (United States only). There is no guarantee that this procedure will work either – just like any fertility procedure there are statistics but no guarantees. The current statistics for this procedure is around 45%. This means that 45% of the embryos that survive the thawing process and are transferred into the prepared mother’s womb are born nine months later!

So wish us luck this year and until that day that Nikolas becomes a big brother – we will have our hands full with a very active little toddler!

 

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Our Road to “MOM and DAD”

“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage.”

I knew this rhyme from my classy elementary days. So naturally when I met my husband this rhyme sang clear in my head. I was nervous because I wasn’t ready to be a mom just yet. I had “so much” to do still! I was 24 and somewhat naive.  I was that woman who got irritated at people for asking when Justin and I were going to start a family. I told everyone I wouldn’t even consider having children until I was 30.  We were going to travel the world first (with what money, I’m not sure).  Plus I had my career to think about (There was no career in site… I hadn’t even completed college yet).  Fast forward 2 years, I decided a career was not for me so I might as well get this mom thing going.  So we began the process of not preventing pregnancy.

Fast forward one year, no pregnancy. I was 27 and felt that I was too young to have any fertility problems so I didn’t believe I needed to go to a fertility doctor. Clearly some sort of denial. Eventually my husband convinced me to start taking some tests. I did a few months on the fertility drug called clomid and went a little crazy. Admittedly I should have been on some anti-depressants prior to any of this starting, so taking hormones on top of my already altered mental state makes for a fun marriage. After a few months on clomid, no pregnancy. So both Justin and I were tested again. Nothing was found to be abnormal.

“Unexplained Infertility”

Fast forward another year. It’s 2010 – I remember this year clearly. I was deep into depression and training for a half ironman to boot. I needed to control something in my life so I chose the half ironman. Not my best decision. Throughout my training I was diagnosed with Mono and anemia. My body was fighting back my sense of control HARD. I got the flu 2 weeks before my race, but ended up finishing 70.3 miles in 7 hours and 45 minutes. Pure Hell. 

Fighting depression with exercise is not something my body was into.

Late into 2010 I agreed to try one fertility treatment (IUI). Our IUI failed and we got into a HUGE fight about anything and everything. Our marriage was now in trouble. We didn’t know why we couldn’t get pregnant and we were at each other’s throat.  Shortly after our failed fertility treatment I found out my cousin was pregnant.  My relationship with her waned as well. People were afraid of my reaction to anything involving pregnancy which pained me then and still pains me now. In their shoes, I’m not sure how I would handle it either. I was highly reactional in an uncontrollable situation and really in a bad place emotionally. I’m not sure there was anything anyone could say to make me feel better or to lessen the blow of another pregnancy announcement. It was this year that I began taking my anti-depressants and sleep medication. Thank GOD.

The next year was 2011 – it was equally as hard. My husband and I weren’t sure our marriage would survive infertility. He was traveling a ton with his job and I was miserable at mine. We went to several different counselors that didn’t seem to help much. I started researching divorce lawyers and coming up with contingency plans for living on my own. This year was exhausting. We didn’t even talk about babies… in fact, we rarely talked at all. There was secret blame toward each other as to why our lives weren’t moving forward. In the fall of 2012 we had several conversations that went like this, “what are we going to do?”, “how are we going to survive this?”, “Is it worth saving?”.  Another round of therapy sessions for us was the answer.

This therapist was a little cooky – but I clearly remember her advice, “divorce is not an option, so lets start acting like it.” Our attitudes changed from that point forward. You’d think that if such a simple phrase could have really changed our attitudes, why didn’t it happen sooner. Who knows. All I know is, we both started working harder to love each other from that point on. One evening we were having the conversation about kids… again. We went through our options again, IVF (no), Adoption (maybe). After several of these conversations well fell solidly on Adoption.  For some reason we had to go through the crappy motions of infertility to finally come to this decision. It seems so ridiculous looking back at it now but I honestly think we HAD to go through that insanity to get to where our family is now.

We signed adoption papers in May of 2012 and our son was born in May of 2013.  It wasn’t an easy process and I will go into that later, but I am 100% certain this little guy was meant to be our son.  He has changed our lives in a way that I can’t even describe. During the adoption wait, we spent a lot of time really working on our marriage. We started dating again, and doing sweet things for each other again. We were on the same team again.  We had to go through that rough patch to prove the extent that we needed each other in this life. I can only pray that we went through infertility to bring our marriage strength – which is needed as parents.

The lesson I took from this experience is that no matter the struggle, there is no room for blame. There is only room for love. So every day I focus on love and forgiveness. I don’t succeed always, I’m only human afterall. The only thing I remember in those 4 years of infertility is anger and self pity. It is really unfortunate that four years of my life were defined by such selfishness. I’m not willing to represent myself as that person any more.

Thank God I went through infertility. Without it I wouldn’t have my son, I wouldn’t have my strong marriage, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

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Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny…

C.S. Lewis

Questions Answered; No Solutions

This month we finally received an answer to our 6 year journey of infertility. The bottom line is, it’s a lot of me and a little of him.  Though we received this answer, I’m not sure what it means or where we will go from here. Since we adopted our son, our whole understanding of family has changed. We love him to the moon and back – beyond anything we had ever imagined.  We can’t imagine loving a human being more than him. So we have been asking ourselves… does biology matter to us?  Do we need a little clone of ourselves?  Without a doubt we want more children. We just have to think things through a little more purposefully. We know now that natural pregnancy will be very unlikely for us so leaving it up to “fate” is somewhat out of the question.  We can’t just “try” to have a baby, we have to really make it a goal financially and emotionally. We have to fill out paperwork and applications. We need background checks and social worker visits. We have to go through the process of being approved as parents once again. That is the world of adoption.

We could also reenter the world of fertility treatments. Again, not without expenses – emotional and financial.  So much poking and prodding – and at the end of the day even Vegas would laugh at our odds of success.  Infertility is not for the faint of heart.Infertility

Do you know how many forms of adoption exist? We can choose from domestic infant, foster adopt (different from just fostering), international adoption, and even embryo adoption! We could also go with sperm or egg donor – which is another form of adoption. Within each of these forms of adoption are intricate laws that vary from state to state and even month to month.  So when you sign up to adopt – you are in for a lesson you never knew you needed.

There is so much loss wrapped up in adoption that it is unfair to ask a child to be thankful” – Brooke Randolph

My husband honestly said to me the other day – “I just want to have a child the least stressful way.” Well, for us, that is not an option; it’s all stressful. There is not an easy choice. With fertility treatments the cost is high and the odds of success are low. With adoption the costs are high and the odds of success are high, but the relationship with the birth family is forever and can be stressful. Our child will have questions as they grow up and it may not be easy. Their loss hurts my heart. Though we have a great relationship with our sons birth mother through open adoption, what if all of the children we adopt don’t have such a good experience with their birth families? What if there is jealousy between the children? What if there is hurt feelings? What if I can’t handle it?

What if? x10000000000

It’s a roller coaster of emotions for life.

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Questioning my sanity … again

I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday.  My husband may call it a mental explosion… A hot messtrain wreck.… A total disaster… a… well… you get the idea.

My business fail of the week: 
I had investment property I was under contract with. A hot property.  This would fund my retirement kind of property.  (Maybe the kind of retirement that invovled a “nice” van down by a “nice” river in a town with an “affordable” ski hill… but still)

Well, I made a mistake and the contract fell through. It was my fault.  I missed a key ingredient.  This is Denver, CO – the market is on fire.  These properties are few and far between – especially at that price point!!  I’ve literally been kicking myself for the past 24 hours.. not to mention I’ve been quite a bear to be around.

I’ve been a real estate investor for 7 years now. I’ve flipped 6 properties and currently own 2 investment properties. Just six more properties from now and my husband and I could experience some pretty amazing life changes. There is no reason I can’t get there in 3 years, but it’s possible it may take 10.  I’m not a patient person – clearly.

Something happened today that put things into perspective for me. I received 2 checks in the mail. One check from my property management company and another check from a new business venture I recently started. Just one of the checks covered my losses in this latest mental breakdown deal loss. I’m going to be just fine.

Self Doubt SUCKS!

Why is it that I doubt myself so much?! I believe the reason is because I am going against the grain of a majority of American society. I am choosing to work for me – regardless of the outcome. It wasn’t an easy decision to make – no more security of that bi-weekly check, no more co-workers (I’m talking about the ones you look forward to seeing everyday), and no more structure.

I HAVE to be the one to make SURE I get paid.  I HAVE to find and keep good business partners and associates.  I HAVE to be structured.  I am a bit eccentric.  Structure is a challenge for me.  Yet her I am, passionate about working for myself – CEO of my own crazy town.  I get distracted easily.  I’ve got a million ideas running through my mind and in real estate (where everyone is an expert) I get approached by many people on what is the BEST way to go about it.  Well I have scratched together a “best way” for me and my family. And somehow – I’ve managed to do OK.

When I look back on each property I’ve worked with, NONE of them have been perfect, but ALL of them have taught me a lesson and a vast majority I have profited from.

1. Don’t trust the self proclaimed “expert”

2. Seriously – #1

3. Find REALLY good help – people that are honest, I mean REALLY honest.. not just on Sunday.

4. Did I mention #1?

5. Find an amazing team – even then not everything will go your way, but you’ll have fun doing it.

6. Ask about the details.  Sometimes trust isn’t enough in business.

7. FOR CRAP SAKE! BE PATIENT!! (I’m yelling at myself here)

(All the experts have 7 steps for success so I was required to conform.)

Bottom Line. ANYONE can work for themselves. There are a million and one opportunities out there that are yet to be discovered.  As many times as you’ve heard it – the market is not saturated.  It doesn’t matter what market I’m talking about.

 

I always ask myself,

“What is the WORST that can happen?”

If it doesn’t involve death or jail time… What are you waiting for?

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!!

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If you choose good mentors, you will succeed.

If you exercise patience, you will succeed.

If you exercise PASSION, you will succeed.

 

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