Monday, December 5, 2011

We're having a baby!

In the surprise of all surprises, we are expecting a baby!!

I am due on June 8th and we could not be more thrilled. Of course, the news came as a total shock to everyone, including us. Not because we don't know how babies are made or we're under some sort of delusion that we "didn't even try" (this is not baby Jesus and I am not the virgin Mary), but after 6 years of negative results and a plan for a family full of adopted babies, the sight of a positive pregnancy test did not register in our brains right away. It actually took several weeks to sink in.

It turns out, I have endometriosis. I had surgery in August to remove it, and by September, we were pregnant. The endometriosis was everywhere. My doctor said, "no wonder you were in so much pain". There's no test to know if you have endometriosis, so I truly don't blame any of my doctors for not finding it earlier. They couldn't have known because I wasn't exhibiting any of the typical symptoms. Plus, the surgery would have been 100% out of pocket because insurance won't pay for anything fertility related.  If you take the risk and you have it, they remove it. If not, you just paid $10,000 for a cool belly button scar.

The decision to go ahead with the surgery came after an annual exam where I simply asked, "how much pain is a normal amount of pain?" and I started to describe what I'd been dulling for months with ibuprofen. My doctor looked through my chart and said, "you actually have quite a bit of recorded history to support a laparoscopy." My doctor did some preliminary ultrasounds and found a tiny cyst in the lining of my uterus, so it was no longer a fertility issue (endometriosis does not show up on an ultrasound). Insurance would now pay for it, and that changed everything. I had several tiny cysts, endometriosis, and an adhesion left over from my appendectomy (another cool belly button scar) that was stretched tight across my abdomen and pulling one of my ovaries down. As bad as all of that sounds, I can't tell you the amount of relief I felt when I woke up from surgery and heard " had a lot of bad stuff in there". Finally, we had some answers. The surgery was all worth it. And I was on my way to feeling normal again.

Of course, now that we're pregnant, everyone wants to tell us about their friend or their neighbor or their cousin who adopted a baby and then MAGICALLY got pregnant. While that might happen to some people, in our case the adoption truly, honestly, 100% had nothing to do with it.

For one thing, adopted babies are not elves. They are not imbued with magical powers. They do not get you pregnant. If I'd decided not to have the surgery, we would have adopted another baby and I still would not be pregnant. (So for the sake of adopted babies everywhere, please stop telling people that adoption is a great way to get pregnant. It makes adopted kids sound like stepping stones to what you "really" want, which is a biological child. And what a horrible message to send to kids who will already struggle with varying levels of abandonment and attachment issues surrounding their adoption.)

Also, the idea of adopting a child in order to get pregnant is just a bargaining stage of grief. It's the game we play with ourselves when we're sad or depressed about something - "If I do this, then maybe this will happen" or "I promise never to (fill in the blank) if the universe could just give me (fill in the blank)". We test fate to see how much karma we've built up. But of course, one thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other. I can't sit in a certain chair in my living room to make the Jayhawks win another National Championship, and I can't adopt a baby in order to become pregnant. That's not why we adopted Luke. We were never holding out hope that by adding him to our lives we would magically become pregnant. In fact, the opposite was true.

I was truly scared when we found out I was pregnant. The only other time we'd ever taken a positive pregnancy test, I lost the baby. So with every single pinch and cramp, I snapped right back to the day when we endured the loss of that little life. I could hardly admit to myself (or anyone else) that I was pregnant because our joy was met with sorrow so quickly last time. I didn't want to get my hopes up. But with every milestone, we breathed a little sigh of relief and told one more person about the baby.

After the initial trepidation, my primary concern was "what is this going to do to Luke?" We'd already imagined our lives with a family of adopted kids. We would openly talk about each "gotcha day" and celebrate the stories that brought each child in to our forever family. Even if they had nothing else in common, they would all be adopted and that would bond them together as siblings. Throwing a biological child in to the mix was not part of the plan. I was scared. I didn't want to take anything away from Luke or risk some resentment because of comments people would make (and shockingly, already have) about how excited we must be to "finally have one of our own." Again...what a horrible message to send to your child. That any one of them is more special or more important or more "ours" than another??

While Ryan and I hoped and prayed and wished for this baby and this experience, now that it's finally here we feel incredibly naive and unprepared for what's ahead. I've been a mommy but I've never delivered a baby. I've waited 9 months for a child but I've never carried one. I've purchased formula and nipples and bottles but I don't know the first thing about breast feeding. We learned so much from Luke's adoption, we were ready to go through it all again - a little wiser this time. Instead of lawyer fees, home studies, and birthmother support, we are now navigating the world of sonograms, birth plans and hormones. It's amazing and I am not taking a single second of it for granted.

I could do without the barfy parts, I guess.