Another Battle

Dear No One,

Marcus and I have A LOT going on this month. Most importantly, we are celebrating Daxon’s first birthday. We also had a visit with his birth mom, adoption walk, friends visiting from St. Louis, Thanksgiving, and one of my best friend’s wedding. Why not add a little more to our to do list?

We decided once Marcus started his job that we would go to a fertility specialist. We couldn’t get in until, you guessed it, November! We knew since March of 2015 that we would need some assistance in getting pregnant, but after a surgery and recovery, we decided to not keep doing tests. We needed some time to physically and emotionally recover. After three years of trying on our own with no success, we knew it was time to get some help. Therefore, we started out with this recent visit getting lots of tests done.

After all of those tests, we were told that our only possibility of having biological children would be through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). This is the last, most desperate and drastic step for couples struggling to get pregnant. Unfortunately for us, it is the only option.

When we found out, I was initially just happy to have answers. We’ve been waiting years to find this out, so there is definitely some relief in knowing.

I would be lying, though, if I didn’t tell you that I’m terrified. I instantly started doing research and reading personal blogs about the IVF journey. There will be a lot of shots, bruises, pain, hope, ultrasounds, emotions, doctor visits, doubt. I am scared. I am excited. I am ready. I know there will be days where I forget why we are doing this. In the end, though, I am fighting yet another battle to keep building our family.

While adoption was not as physically draining as IVF will be, it took so much patience and emotions and is a lifelong experience with ups and downs.

Nothing about creating our family has been easy, and I cannot wait to tell each and every one of our children someday about how hard we worked to get to them.

Why am I telling you about this? I loved sharing our journey through adoption to bringing home Daxon and all the support we received, and I want to share this journey as well.

I am ready to fight another battle as the reward is so very worth it.

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All my love,

Betsy

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National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

Dear No One,

This day hits home for a lot of people. Whether you had a miscarriage or held your infant in your arms for a short time, today we remember every baby that didn’t make it. And we remember their parents. That they need ongoing love and support. 

This day holds a lot of weight for me. We have never had a miscarriage. We haven’t lost an infant. Because we’ve never been pregnant before. That, to me, is just as much a loss. So I am also thinking of every woman who has never gotten to experience the high of a positive pregnancy test and the loss you feel every month. 

Yet I have an even bigger tug in my heart today. Last year we had a failed adoption opportunity. That baby was born on October 15. National Infant Loss Day. Ironic, huh? While I know that baby was not meant to be ours, and I can’t imagine any other child but Daxon, it doesn’t take away the pain we went through last year. The huge loss we felt. Sitting with packed bags. Waiting for a call to leave. To never hear anything. Nothing. Confused and feeling even more broken. 

What did we do? We took a day to grieve. Grieve the loss of that child. Then on October 17 we went back on the list as a waiting family. Not even 2 weeks later, we were matched with Daxon’s birth family. 

We allowed ourselves to feel our pain. Deal with our loss. Then kept moving forward. 

If you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage or lost a child, reach out to them. Not just today. Today may be the national day to raise awareness, but there isn’t a day that goes by they don’t think about that loss. They don’t need you to fix anything. Just a quick note to let them know you are thinking of them. Let them know they aren’t alone. 

I know if you are in the middle of infertility or adopting, it is hard to see any light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. Allow yourselves to feel your pain. Grieve your losses. But never stop moving forward. You may not see the light yet, but it is coming. Hold on. 

Our failed adoption opportunity was on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, but our son was born on National Adoption Day. How’s that for “meant to be?”

You are all in my heart today and every day. 

All my love,

Betsy

The Best Days

Dear No One,

It has been a long time since I posted anything because we have been incredibly busy this summer moving and getting settled in our new house. I felt the urge to write, though, because it has been just over a year since we went active as a “waiting family” with our adoption agency. Now we have a 9 month old. Holy cow.

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A 9 month old that plays hide and seek. A 9 month old that loves to repeat sounds you make (we’re still working on mama and dada). A 9 month old that only wants to eat whatever Mommy or Daddy is eating. A 9 month old that cries when Mommy or Daddy walks out of the room. A 9 month old who knows that we are his family.

These are THE best days of my life. I love nothing more than spending every day with Dax. He is everything to me.

So these are the best days of my life, but I still experience emotional and physical pain from infertility? Whhaaattt?!?

Yes. It might sound like I’m contradicting myself, but let me explain a little. The most frustrating thing I experienced after adopting Daxon was that I had people that expected me to feel perfectly healed. I had my baby. What more could I want? Stop complaining lady!

First, Daxon was not and is not a bandaid for our infertility pain. He was not “another option.” We have talked about adopting since we were dating. After dealing with some of our infertility issues, we decided to rethink our plan for children. But Daxon did not come into our lives to cover up our pain of infertility. I think that takes away from the relationship between our son and us. He was wanted. He was desired. He was planned for just like a biological child would have been to us. He is so very, very loved (if you can’t tell by the thousands of pictures I’m constantly posting).

Second, infertility changes you forever. From the second it becomes a part of your story, you will never be the same. In ways I am much stronger, but I also still feel weak, depressed, and heartbroken from time to time. Therefore, I cannot go back and be completely happy and healed by adopting a child. That wasn’t the point of adopting, and that’s not how it works.

Third, you know what most women want more than a child? Two children. Three. Four. However many they want. Marcus and I were still “trying” the entire time we were going through the adoption process. We are dying for a big family. Well, we’ve been trying for that big family for 3 years now. 3 years. With no success in getting pregnant. And yet I still feel that little spark of hope every month, and I still feel the pain that follows. Every. time.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a sad, pathetic pile. Like I said before, these are the best days of my life. I love my life more than ever. But does having one child mean I’m not allowed to feel the pain of infertility anymore? Nope.

I’m a BIG believer in letting yourself feel whatever you are feeling. Whether you are dealing with infertility or something else entirely, don’t let anyone else tell you how you should feel. Keep fighting, but let yourself feel every emotion. That is one thing that you have control of in this crazy world.

All my love,

Betsy

To the Woman I Forgot Last Year

Dear No One,

In the week of mothers (yes, I said week. Every commercial. Every sign. Every post on Facebook. All about moms), I have an ache in my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I am more grateful than ever to be celebrating this year with a child in my arms.

But my mind is stuck on Daxon’s birth mom. Last year I wrote a post about all the women that may be struggling on Mother’s Day. Women who lost a mom, women who lost a child, women who are struggling with infertility. Yet even in the whirlwind of adoption paperwork, it didn’t occur to me to think about birth moms. Someone near and dear to my heart who has personally experienced adoption (and taught me A LOT about the triad of adoption) kindly reminded me of these women.

Birth MOMS. Yes. They do not physically have the child in their care. What I have learned in the last year, though, is they never stop thinking and praying for the child they carried for nine months. And for those first nine months (and for some birth moms, months or years after birth), she is that child’s mother. She make decisions for nine months to help care for her child. She makes the incredibly hard decision to place the child for adoption, which is followed by paperwork, phone calls, reading through dozens of families profiles, and endless emotions. Then this woman gives birth. Now I have never been pregnant or given birth, but I know from every mother I’ve ever talked to that neither is easy. The only thing that gets them through is the thought of holding their child in the end. So what gets a birth mom through that? A love for her child. Her child. Then she hands that child over to me, and he is mine. Take a moment to understand the depth of that.

I am obviously not a birth mom, so I am only writing from what I have seen, read, and experienced. But part of being an advocate of adoption is spreading awareness of both sides.

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Last year on Mother’s Day, Daxon’s birth mom was pregnant. This year, I will be holding him in my arms. If you have ever met a birth mom, you have met one of THE strongest women you will ever meet.

To the woman I forgot last year, I will NEVER forget you again.

All my love,

Betsy

Why “Dear No One”

Dear No One,

It has been a year since I started my blog, and I never really explained why I named it “Dear No One.” I am sure you are all DYING to know, so here it is.

When I was going through our deepest, darkest times of infertility, I felt so alone. There were so many people out there that would have listened and could have helped. BUT I had in my mind that no one tells people they are pregnant until they are at least 8 weeks “in case something happens.” Therefore, I felt like infertility was something that was supposed to be kept secret. We didn’t even tell our families until we had some answers from the doctors and knew there was definitely a problem.

The best thing that ever happened for me was when I called someone to get advice on adoption, and we ended up talking for three hours about infertility instead. Having someone else that validated all of my feelings felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I wish I had reached out to someone who had gone through the same thing so much earlier.

Oh yeah. Why “Dear No One?” Am I saying that anyone reading this is a no one? Of course not! When I started this blog, it was more of an outlet for me. I honestly did not care if one person read it. I just felt a desire to write. Therefore, I was okay if I was writing to “No One.” I am simply writing from my heart.

Now that I do have a few people that read this, my one goal is to never let another woman go through infertility alone. So for the woman out there who thinks you are alone and no one will understand, I am here. I understand. I promise you that reaching out to me or anyone else who has gone through infertility will be the best thing you could do for yourself.

Will I rename it someday? Yes! I am positive that someday I will rename it to be more fitting for our family. But for now, I am using this writing as therapy for myself and if no one reads this, that’s okay with me. Although, I know at least my mom is reading this. 😉

I would love any and all suggestions from your creative minds for my next blog name!

All my love,

Betsy

NIAW: My Year After Starting A Blog

Dear No One,

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and this time last year was the first time I opened up about our infertility issues. My husband and I kept it to ourselves for over a year, and it wasn’t until we announced that we were in the process of adopting that we decided to share. A LOT has happened since I started this blog, and while I never considered myself a writer (and still don’t), I am so glad I decided to share our story. In the last year, I have learned so much and made and deepened relationships with so many amazing women going through some form of infertility.

What have I learned? There are so many forms of infertility. Women who have chronic illnesses. Miscarriages. IVF. Low or no sperm count. Even some couples whose doctors couldn’t find any medical reason for why they can’t get pregnant. Some women have never even gotten to experience the joy that comes from a positive pregnancy test. Others experience that joy and have it instantly ripped away from them when their biggest dream ends in a miscarriage. Other women struggled with infertility years ago, and it still haunts them.

The most important thing I learned from talking to so many different women about their experiences? Every one of us felt and still feel the EXACT same emotions. No matter how infertility touched our lives, I instantly felt a connection with each and every woman.

What are some of the emotions we feel? Sadness, despair, depression. Having a child is something most women dream about for most of their lives. Not having a child, is often our worst nightmare. Anger. “Why me?” often hits as you watch every. single. person you know announce their pregnancy on Facebook (or so it seems). Jealousy comes right along with that anger and instantly a wave of guilt for feeling angry and jealous of your friends’ happiness. Alone. Even though 1 in 8 couples experience infertility, you still feel alone. You don’t want to bring everyone down by constantly talking about it, but it is almost all you can think about. Also, just like most things in life, no one really understands what you are going through unless they’ve experienced it themselves. I had a friend that supported me through our worst times of infertility, but it wasn’t until she experienced it herself that she truly understood the depths of what I was going through.

Does it go away? Nope. Infertility becomes a part of you. It changes you. Your life will NEVER be the same. And that is okay.

Why? Because now as I hold my sleeping baby that we adopted 5 months ago and type this, I truly believe there is no other baby that is meant to be in my life right now. I am stronger than I have ever been. I am positive that I am a better mom because of the struggle. I have made countless friendships. I have cried with women. Often times, I am one of the first people these women tell when they find out they are pregnant. I am helping women through the biggest ups and downs of their lives. Crying with them through the worst. Celebrating at their highest moments.

Speaking out about our infertility and starting this blog has been life-changing for me. My hope is that any woman that reads this and is experiencing any type of infertility will reach out to me. Why? You don’t have to go through this alone and you shouldn’t go through this alone.  The worst thing I did in the beginning was try to deal with it by myself. Infertility is a sisterhood. A sisterhood you would never choose, but it is one that will welcome you with open arms and never let you go. Infertility may never go away but either will the bond that you instantly form within the sisterhood.

I never want another woman to go through infertility alone, so to all my sisters, I am ALWAYS here to talk. You are not alone. Most of all, keep fighting. I promise that when you FINALLY meet your babe, it will be

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All my love,

Betsy

Autism: A Different View

Dear No One,

I love staying home with Daxon. I mean I really, REALLY love it. There is nothing else I would rather do.

Before we had Daxon, though, I worked in a school with children with autism, and I miss my kiddos from school every day. I miss the challenge. I miss never knowing how my day was going to go. I miss watching them learn.

Most of all, though, I miss their snuggles and giggles. Yes. Snuggles. I know. You are probably thinking, “I thought they don’t like to be touched.” I have heard that from so many people. That my job couldn’t have been as fun or rewarding as working with typically developing children because they don’t give you anything in return. There is nothing further from the truth though.

My work with children with autism was the most rewarding job I have ever had. Yes, sometimes I got ignored, hit, kicked, bit. Other times, though, I got to watch a child go from not wanting anyone near them to crawling onto my lap and asking for tickles over and over AND over. How is that not rewarding?!?

Why am I writing about this? Today is World Autism Day. I just couldn’t get my mind off of my students today, so I wanted to give a little love to some of the kids who will have a piece of my heart forever.

I, by no means, know everything about autism. No one does. “If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism.” – Stephen Shore

Every child I worked with was completely different. One thing I found with them all, though, was they craved our love and attention. It is not that they do not want to be a part of your world or want your love, they just need more assistance in learning how to enter into situations and communicate their needs and wants.

There is no better feeling than earning their trust and watching them open their world to let you in. I’m not going to sit and list out bullet points on what you need to know. Just know that they are beautiful souls that just see our world in a different light. If you ever get the chance, stop and take a look from their point of view. You will learn a lot.

 

All my love,

Betsy

Thank You

Dear No One,

This post isn’t for no one though. This is for everyone. All of our supporters. It has almost been one year since we announced we were adopting.

No matter how you supported us, we are forever grateful.

Being a new mom, I’m quite impressed that it only took us 4 months to get the puzzle glued together and put into the double sided frame (which I love!!). While we are keeping the back with everyone’s messages private, we wanted to show you the final product.

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Maybe it is just me, but I think Dax makes any picture better. And yes, it is quite impossible not to squeeze those chunky thighs all day long.

There are just not enough words to thank all of our supporters. I cannot begin to write the love I have for you all. I lost a lot through the process of infertility. I have been quite open and honest about the struggles, and I know everyone has some kind of struggle in their lives. When you’ve lost your hope, your faith, your beliefs, hold on tight to those around you. When you can’t get on your knees to pray because you feel like no one is listening, let others carry you in their prayers. Even when you feel like you are alone and no one is listening, bigger plans are in the making.

Here is the only piece of proof I can give you:

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If you are struggling with anything right now, it is okay to feel lost. It is okay to struggle. He IS listening, though, and my hope is that maybe Daxon’s story can also give you some hope.

To all of our supporters, we can never thank you enough. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I could keep typing that but (1) it would never be enough to show our gratitude and (2) the blog post has to end eventually. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making us stronger. No matter how you supported us, you helped bring Baby Hemi home.

All our love,

Marcus & Betsy

 

 

Today I am…

Dear No One,

It has been awhile since I’ve written anything. I told Marcus the other day that I love writing blog posts, but I don’t necessarily have anything to write these days. For those who have read a lot of my blog posts, you know I have written a lot of serious posts. I told Marcus, “I think I don’t have anything serious to write. Everything is so good. I’m just so happy.”

And my supportive husband, (who was actually listening to me talk!) 😉 said, “then write that.”

It has been over a year since we started the process of adoption and over three years since we started trying to have a child. Today, we have a 4 month old. I have NEVER been this happy. Ever.

So that is all I have to write today. I am happy. We have our baby. Marcus is almost done with residency. Under 100 days (not that I’m counting)! I spend every day at home taking care of my baby. My baby. Mine. Today I am happy.

Annndddd because I can’t leave without sending a little sappy love and support to my readers…for those of you trying to have children, no matter through adoption or biologically, NEVER give up. The pain you feel is because you know in your heart that being a mom is exactly what you’re meant to do with your life. I can tell you that when that baby does come, it will be SO worth every painful moment you’ve endured along the way. There is no better feeling than taking care of your baby.

Even when you have to sit in a car with your arm backwards to pacify your baby (and be a headrest for your dog).

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All my love,

Betsy