One Day at a Time

Image

A Day In The Life of a Storm Trooper

My husband and I decided that we would just enjoy our little boy for now and put off IVF for a while. Stress is not good when you’re trying to get pregnant, and between dealing with the foster care system, my job, the shots and all the appointments, it was just too much.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we ran into a snag with our tax refund that we plan to use towards IVF. The IRS did confirm that we would be entitled to the refund with some proof and the birth parents would not. They would have to pay the money back since they already got their refund, or more likely, not receive a refund again until it’s paid in full. So, it will take a while for that money to come to us anyway.

My four attempts at IUI unfortunately were unsuccessful, but that’s in the past and I’m glad that we’re able to move on and take some time to just focus on being a family. Our little guy is transitioning beautifully! He loves playing with mommy’s old toys from when she was little, while at Grandma’s house during the day. Then he comes home to even more toys, thanks to his two cousins who have outgrown them. He’s just in heaven and very busy!

We may decide not to do IVF at all, who knows. That was just my back-up plan if foster care didn’t work out anyway. We have time to decide; there is no need to rush things. I’m happy with taking things one day at a time.

Photo credit: Kalexanderson / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Advertisements

Not My First Rodeo

Image

I got a phone call yesterday morning from the fertility clinic telling me I missed my appointment. I apologized to the nurse, saying that I meant to call, but was distracted by my new foster baby.

I informed her that I got my period on Saturday and I knew that I wasn’t pregnant, so I did not need to come in. She said that I did still need to come in. I asked why. She said to verify for their records! I said, “I’m telling you for your records, I’m not pregnant!” She said, “many women have bleeding and are still pregnant.” I said, “This is not my first rodeo! This is my fourth IUI. I think I’d know if I was pregnant or not. The nurse replied, “well, I’m going to mark in your file that you refused!” I said okay.

The nurse made me feel like I was in trouble in school and the principal was going to put it in my “permanent file?” Am I going to get detention? Are people going to whisper about me behind my back when I go to the office? “THAT’S the woman who didn’t want to get her blood work done!” Give me a break!

I understand that it was this nurse’s job to check on me and make sure I am following the procedures. However, it was bad enough to find out on Saturday that I wasn’t pregnant. I didn’t need that phone call from the nurse, while I’m at school with my students, telling me that I need to stop all medication because the results were negative.”

This was my fourth and last IUI attempt. While I’m sad that it didn’t work for me, it’s kind of a relief in a way to know that I don’t have to worry about the injections, the doctor’s appointments and the copays. Luckily I have a new little guy in my life that will keep me plenty busy! I would be perfectly happy adopting him and moving on with my life. We’ll have to see what happens.

Photo credit: Vince Alongi / Foter.com / CC BY

 

The Best Surprises Come in Small Packages

lestats-cute-little-toesMy Mid-Winter Recess took an unexpected turn this past week. I expected to spend some time with some friends, do a craft project, put some clothes up on Ebay and just plain relax. Unfortunately, my husband got a nasty cold that put him out of work for a few days. Then, we got a phone call on Wednesday from DSS… would we be willing to take a two year old?

If you’ve read my past posts, you’d know that we have very mixed feelings about the Foster Care System as a whole. They play games with people, do a disservice to the children, have high expectations for foster parents, but low expectations for birth parents. Plus, we still really miss our last foster baby. It was devastating when he went back to his parents. However, we have a lot of love to give and decided that we’d give it one last shot!

The homefinder told us that he was passed around from home to home for a while, so he probably slept in a bed instead of a crib. So, I went out, bought a toddler bed and my husband and I spent the day putting it together. What a pain in the neck that thing was! Then, to find out, he’s still in a crib! Good thing we didn’t take the crib apart.

When you take the foster care classes, they give you a sheet with a bunch of questions that you should ask before deciding to take a child into your home. However, this is our third foster child and NEVER have we gotten accurate information from the homefinder, so that is completely useless. They told us that his father was in prison and would like him to come for visits. As it turns out, his father is in the service and has never shown interest in him. The last foster family that had him was told he had asthma, a seizure disorder and all kinds of allergies. None of that was true either.

He’s a pretty amazing little boy with big blue eyes, long eyelashes, light blonde curly hair and is sweet as can be! He’s smart and is good at sorting his shapes, picks up his toys and even tries to dress himself! While he does have some anxiety, he seems to be a pretty resilient little man.

He has already been in the system for 6 months, so his mom has 6 more months to get her act together, successfully go to rehab, go to anger management classes and parenting classes. That’s the minimum the county expects of a parent. She hasn’t done anything so far. For his sake, I hope that she continues to do nothing because we would like to be his forever family. We are smitten already!

Photo credit: therapycatguardian / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

The Waiting Game

alice-in-wonderland-white-rabbit-who-killed-time-2I’m four days post IUI and this is the hardest part… waiting. I have had some back pain, so it makes me wonder, is this a symptom? It’s still pretty early yet, but I’ve never had any symptoms after any of my other three IUIs.  I had four good sized follicles when I was inseminated. My husband had 50 million sperm, so you’d think those were pretty good odds (he says he must have been off his game, gag!). I find out on Feb. 25th.

We are looking to use our tax refund toward IVF instead of doing any more rounds of IUI. When I tried filing electronically, I was informed that someone already claimed our dependent on their taxes, therefore we couldn’t also claim them! This means, that our foster child’s birth parents, who didn’t have custody of him at all during 2012, claimed him on their taxes. While this is illegal, we have to figure out if it’s worth pursuing. For one, it will hold up our refund longer, meaning it will be longer that we’ll have to wait to do IVF. Second, it means that not only will the birth parent’s taxes be scrutinized, but ours will be as well. Lastly, if the child ever does come back into foster care, the birth parents will most likely be upset that we got the money and they didn’t, hurting our chances of getting the baby back.

My mom says that a thousand dollars is a thousand dollars and we should pursue it. My husband says the opposite. So, last night I decided to call the IRS and ask them what we should do. I sat on hold for 45 MINUTES before I got a tax person on the line who asked me a series of questions. Then she put me on hold again! Just as she was getting back to me with my answer, my cell phone died! I was soooo bummed out. Needless to say, I’m sitting here again, with my cell on speaker, but charged and typing as I wait.

I’m hoping that this back pain is a sign and I won’t have to worry about IVF or the size of my tax return because we can take a much needed vacation and work on the baby’s room instead!

Photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

How Are You Being Supported in Your Journey?

leading-you-up-the-garden-path-again-at-great-dixterIt’s not a question people think of asking, but it’s good to know you’re not alone. When I look at other blogs online, I see women who DID have fertility issues, but now have children. Or, women who have decided to be childfree. Women who adopted, etc. I couldn’t find a good blog about a thirty-something woman actively trying and going through this whole infertility process. That’s one of the reasons why I created this blog, because I felt like there had to be someone else out there who could relate to me.

I initially mentioned going to counseling, but that wasn’t going to work out with my schedule. So, we went to a support group yesterday for people who are going through infertility issues. What really surprised me was that it wasn’t all twenty somethings. They were people in their 30, 40s and older, from all walks of life, with a variety of reasons why they couldn’t get pregnant! There was one woman who had 8 IUIs and another that had 8 IVFs (she must have good insurance!). There was even another man there besides my husband. Infertility is ubiquitous (one of my student’s vocab words today, had to use it in a sentence) and it knows no boundaries and happens for no good reason sometimes. It was interesting to have others relate to me and to hear their stories.

I was afraid that this group was either going to be a bunch of women bitching and complaining or a bunch of sob stories. While there was some of both, it wasn’t all consuming. Let’s face it, all of our stories are sad and we’re on hormones, so we have a right to be bitchy! I did feel like I took something positive away from it and that I contributed to others. It’s something I’d like to do again and I’m glad it was a good experience for my husband and me.

It’s really important for people to not feel alone. Yes, I have very supportive friends and family, but they’re not walking in my shoes. Having someone who can actually relate to my situation alleviates a lot of stress and gives me a different perspective on things. I feel alone a lot, between being the only special ed teacher in my school, being a foster parent, going through infertility issues, etc. So anytime I can find someone who really KNOWS what it’s like, it really does make a difference and makes me feel a little bit better about things.

Photo credit: antonychammond / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Life Isn’t Fair

explore

It turns out that the newborn twins my friend was fostering were taken away from her yesterday because the social worker failed to ask any of the sibling’s parents if they would like to have them! So, after preparing their home for twins, taking a week off from work to care for them and loving them as their own, they were taken away from my friend without notice!

She was so excited and hopeful that she would be able to some day adopt the kids, given the initial story she was told, then they were ripped away without a thought of her feelings. The love of a mother, foster or otherwise, is not something that should be messed with.

She is a good person who opened up her heart and her home and nobody deserves to be treated that way. The foster care system is very unforgiving.

Photo credit: Cengiz.uskuplu / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Oh Jealousy

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100When I used to go to the fertility doctor and my husband would bring our foster baby, I could feel the sneers and stares as if other people were saying, “why is she here, she already has a baby.” One time a nurse asked me who’s baby it was, knowing that it couldn’t possibly have been mine.

I must admit that when I go to the grocery store or to the mall, I look at pregnant women or women with kids in a snide way. Why were they able to get pregnant and I’m going through all this trouble? I will park in the “expectant mom” parking space if there is nothing else free just to dare someone to question me. I guess I can be a bitch sometimes with a, “why them and not me?” mentality.

I recently just found out that a friend of mine, who is also a foster parent, just got a set of newborn twin girls right from the hospital. The birth mother has had 10 other children, all of whom have been previously adopted. So, there’s a good chance that these kids will also be free for adoption eventually. I congratulated her and wished her and her husband luck. What a wonderful opportunity!

I am happy for her. I do hope it turns out for her, but yes, I still want to cry. I think it’s okay to have a pity party once in a while.

On a positive note, I’m getting inseminated on Monday! I have 4 good sized follicles. Hopefully, it will go well.

Photo credit: mdanys / Foter.com / CC BY

It’s All About Perspective

sleepy-alreadyUsually when I go to the Fertility Doctor, people just sit in the comfy, hotel-like setting of this posh office and keep to themselves. On one particular day, a man felt compelled to talk to me. It was quite entertaining, but made me think.

I was looking at the newspaper and the man, who I found out later was a retired cop, said, “go ahead and take those coupons, we pay enough for this place, you ought to get something for free.” I laughed it off and appreciated his sense of humor and felt for his wife who shushed him since my husband’s been known to be equally obnoxious.

After my appointment, I saw the same gentleman waiting out on a bench. He said that he never wanted kids. He and his first wife agreed to this, then she gave him an ultimatum and then eventually divorced. Then he met his second wife, she was also a cop and agreed that she didn’t want children and he had a vasectomy. Then she chided him to get it reversed. Well, 4 attempts at In Vitro later, they were still unsuccessful. He didn’t understand how he ended up at this juncture and since he was retired, he’d have to take care of a kid he didn’t even want.

I didn’t know how to respond to this man. I was on my third IUI attempt at the time. We were about to lose our foster baby. I couldn’t relate to his situation. So, I told him that maybe he should just take her to a Caribbean island and forget about life for a while.

I thought about my response because I guess that’s what I would like to do if I find out having children is not possible. I had much higher hopes for the foster care system. I had this picturesque vision of taking a child into our home, they loved us and we loved them and they stayed forever. So far, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. I didn’t picture myself going through numerous rounds of fertility treatments.

My sister had asked me once if I would feel like I missed out on something if I never gave birth. I really don’t think so. I only really went that round because it was cheaper than adoption. It’s not that I’m cheap, I just don’t see how it’s a viable option for us right now.

I do however find some solace in the fact that I will be done with IUI after this attempt. Don’t get me wrong, I want to have a child in my life very much, but I don’t like the torture of rejection each time it fails. It’s just a pleasant though I like to keep in the back of my mind that if we aren’t successful that we can still be happy by getting a little house on a little island and forget about life for a while.

Photo credit: notsogoodphotography / Foter.com / CC BY

Yes, I’m a Crazy Cat Lady, Get Over It!

christmas-tree-cat-styleWhen you look up Crazy Cat Lady online, I’m sure my picture is there. I started out innocently enough. When I got my first apartment out of college, I wanted some company, so I got a kitten. Well, 5 cats later, the title is starting to fit.

A stray cat had kittens in my Grandma’s wood pile. I helped find the kittens homes. One of them was a calico and reminded me of the cat I had when I was young. So, I had to have her to keep the other one company. You know the saying, “Cats are like potato chips, you can’t have just one!” Then a few years later, my other grandmother took in a stray cat that had kittens. So, I helped her find them homes. Well, the guy I was seeing at the time decided that he wanted one and who ended up with the cat when the relationship ended? Not him. A few years after that, a friend of mine had to move back home to Minnesota to take care of his elderly parents. I went with him to help him move. His cat had kittens and there was one left. His family had a farm and he was going to let the kitten live with the other barn cats. Well, after seeing the condition of these barn cats, I couldn’t leave the kitten there. So, yes, if you’re keeping track, that brought me up to 4 cats! Why can’t people just get their pets fixed!

When my husband and I decided to move in together after dating for a year, he said that I would have to leave 2 cats behind with my mom. My mom was only willing to take 1 cat. My husband also had a cat, so we were back up to 4. Then, when we moved into our house, a cat came walking in the front door one day. Apparently, the people who lived there before, left her behind. So, now we are up to 5 cats. I know what you’re thinking… that’s an insane number of cats in one house, but I’m a very clean person. So, it doesn’t smell like cat when you walk into my house. You don’t even see them half the time. There may be some pet hair, but that’s unavoidable.

I love my cats. I also have had a dog for about 5 years. They’re awesome company. They’re nonjudgmental and they’re low maintenance. They love unconditionally. Here is my fear. I had an aunt who never had kids. She had 7 miscarriages and was never able to go full term. She had cats and dogs that she doted on. They had birthday parties with cakes, party hats and presents. She had professional oil paintings made of them. They were her children. Then, when her last cat died and my uncle told her they were too old to care for any more pets, her health and mental status declined. She had no children to take care of her. We would take her food and plea with my uncle to get her some help or to get her another pet. Finally she was put into a nursing home where she died.

I would tease my husband before we started actively trying to conceive that he was turning into a crazy cat lady for telling pet stories to people. I didn’t want to end up like my poor aunt. Now that I’m in the process of my last IUI, I wonder if I will be like her after all. I don’t have birthday parties for my pets, but I dote on them. Now my first cat, the one who kept me company in my first apartment, is declining. He’s lost a lot of weight and he’s 15 years old. I don’t want to bring him to the vet because I don’t want to hear bad news. Yes, we’re still going on Saturday, the same day I’m getting inseminated again. Apparently I have good timing with these things.

I don’t care if I’m a crazy cat lady; he is my baby.

UPDATE: I ended up being inseminated on Monday instead of Saturday (Get results in 2 weeks on Feb. 25) and my cat will be okay. He has a tumor on his thyroid which can be regulated with medication. So hopefully he will be gaining weight and back to his old self in no time!

UPDATE 3/12/13: We put Tibby cat to rest yesterday. He was not getting any better, but was getting weaker and having a hard time eating and getting around. He was a good boy and I will miss him very much. He will always be my first baby.

Photo credit: aye_shamus / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I Think I’d Rather Work at Walmart

stacking-up-and-defying-time-1I’m so fed up with my current job that I’d rather work at Walmart than to spend another year torturing myself here. Not that there is anything wrong with a hard working person who devotes their days to the Super store, but with administration like this, I’d feel much more useful somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE working with my kids. My kids are the best part of my day and if I didn’t have to deal with the other crap that comes with it, life would be grand! Like going to visit relatives, charter schools are good places to go, but you don’t want to stay there. I’m on my sixth year and I’m ready to jump ship. We make less money than the districts, have no unions to stand up for us, work our butts off and live with the fear of losing our jobs at the end of each year since we don’t get tenure.

What do I mean? Well, I’m the only Special Ed teacher in the building. So, I don’t get free periods or a lunch for that matter. I’m not allowed to speak up when we are out of compliance, but have to deal with the consequences if we get caught. I have little to no support, there’s a big lack of communication and the expectations are very high.

My administrator actually told me that he verifies everything I say with our state representative. Gotta love the trust!

For example, students came into school one Saturday to take an ACT exam. I was having a very leisurely day at home with my husband and foster baby. I went to look at my phone and saw that I had 4 messages wondering where I was. Why wasn’t I there with my students? Nobody told me I had to proctor the exam, but I was expected to come in on my day off and stay for the double time that my kids are allowed. Yes, I dragged my butt to school, but no, I didn’t get paid for it.

Here is another instance… teachers were supposed to make sure that one of my students only had 3 choices on multiple choice tests. They didn’t do it despite me going over it, explaining it in depth and teachers signing off saying that they understood. So the parent called and filed a formal complaint with the state. Who had to do all the paperwork, set up the meetings, talk to the teachers, set up the professional development as to why following accommodations are important and basically get all the blame for something that is out of her control? Well, she’s a Dirty Thirties girl who’s had enough!

At the end of every year beloved teachers are let go for reasons unknown. I refuse to be one of those teachers. I’ve applied for several other jobs and it’s not easy finding something in this economy. Now add on top of that hormones from fertility treatments! I fear that I won’t find something else by next year, but like I said, I could always go work at Walmart, if they’ll take me! Or maybe I could have a successful blog? Who knows!

Photo credit: susivinh / Foter.com / CC BY-ND