Category Archives: hope

our little twitter-bird

I have started and deleted this post so many times I have lost count.  Nothing seemed right.  Nothing seemed to do it justice.  One time it would be too detailed and too much information for the reader and other times it was so vague that it didn’t feel right either.  So I will start this post again and see if I can find some middle ground.

When we were chosen by the birth mother at the end of May 2016.  We were told she was due in September, but that she always went early so to be ready by August 1.  We made our lists of things to do before we were to bring the baby home.  We bought furniture and had it delivered to the house while we were at Montreat.  We started to talk about paint colors for the nursery, and we started to discuss what we would need immediately vs what would be on our wish list for later.  We had a plan pretty much for each week until August 1st.

We were chosen (officially) on June 1, 2016.  We went to Montreat as planned and while we were there we got a call on June 14th that our birth mother was in the hospital and they were trying to decide if they were going to do strict bed rest of go on and induce and take the baby because both mom and baby were in danger.  We were told to be on stand by.  June 15th we got a call stating they were going to induce as mom was now 28 weeks and they couldn’t wait any longer.  They were planning on starting the process at 5:00 pm.  We decided Andy would stay at camp with the kids since he wasn’t going to be in the delivery room anyways.  I made my way to the hospital and we waited.  5:00 came and went and nothing was started.  It was around 9:00 that night that they actually got things started with the induction.

This is where I end up being way too detailed or not detailed enough.  I remember every second (mostly) and detail about the time I spent in room 10 of the labor and delivery floor.  It was an experience like no other and that words don’t completely capture the essence or the magnitude of the moments we spent together.  Exactly 2 weeks after we were chosen, two weeks and a day after we met this amazing woman we were tossed into a whirlwind experience.  We hadn’t had our next scheduled meeting because we thought there was time.  We hadn’t had time to completely process the extent of our relationship and how connected we were because we knew the other existed for only 2 weeks.  We thought there was time to get the furniture assembled in the nursery.  We thought there was time to meet the birth father.  We thought there was time, but what we didn’t have was time.  It was here and now and all of my plans and lists were null and void.

I write about the timeline of events that happened in June 2016 and am thrust right back into the calm before the storm and then the absolute chaos.  And while all of those elements are so important to Andy and I, they may not be as important to anyone else, and that is ok.  Maybe in the moment those details would have been important to other people beyond Andy and myself, but this far out from that date, I just don’t know.  It is hard sorting out what others might feel is important and what I think it is important for other people to hear.  I can describe in detail the induction process and when things stalled or progressed.  I can describe to you how truly amazing it was to listen to the heart beat on the monitor.  How in the quiet of the night it would slam into me with so much emotion I would escape to the bathroom to gather myself.  How the chairs were arranged in that room and each person had their spot, but when they rotated, where we all went and how often we moved around.  How we took shifts to make phone calls, get drinks, ice chips, and eventually something to eat.  How birth mom would wake up during the night and ask if her “baby mama” was still there.  Those details are there and etched in my brain.

What is important regardless of how much time passes is the beauty that encompassed room 10 and OR room 1.  Two families connected through adoption.  The birth family and the adopted family supporting each other, barely knowing each other.  We laughed together, we got choked up together, we sat in silence together.

The awkwardness I thought would be palpable wasn’t there.  The conversation flowed between procedures and contractions.  The smiles and tears were genuine.  The concern was real.  She apologized to me so many times for having to be induced and the magnitude of the situation didn’t elude me.  She was saying sorry to me and yet she was about to give me my hopes and dreams for so many years.  It didn’t seem quite right.  I thanked her over and over.  We held hands like old friends.

Around 2:15 in the morning of June 16th I found myself sitting alone in the cafeteria eating the first food I had in hours and reflecting on life.  A terrible piece of pizza and a luke warm cranberry juice was all that was available at that time of morning.  I sat in the booth staring off into space, tired from being awake and exhausted from trying to be supportive and remaining hopeful and calm.  We were not delusional to think this delivery at 28 weeks would be without complications.  I knew what we were up against.  Andy did too.  But we held onto the hope that things would be ok.  The heart rate was perfect and I held onto that thought.  For the first time in years I imagined our life as a family with a child.  I grabbed onto that hope that it was really happening to us.  I reached into the back of my mind where I stashed all of those thoughts and feelings and allowed them to resurface again.

Birth mom and most everyone else in the room fell asleep around 3.  Myself and another lady stayed awake until about 4:20.  We were awaken at 4:40 by total chaos.  Birth mom was rushed to the OR to deliver there (as a precaution).  I was told to wait by a door to see the baby as it went by the door on the way to the NICU.  The friend that was in the OR with the birth mom was texting the pregnancy counselor and the pregnancy counselor was sending me the information and I was sending the information to Andy.  It was a long line of cell phone communication.  My favorite was when I got the text that she was here.  Our little girl.  She was 2 pounds 10 ounces.  I got to see a video of them taking her to the incubator.  They stopped by the door and I could see her.  The NICU doctor was with her.  I hadn’t been able to speak with her earlier so she stepped through the door and answered some of my questions.  She said the good news was that they didn’t have to intubate right away that she was breathing on her own (she warned me that could change at any moment).  She wanted to go to the NICU with her and told me I would be able to come see her and find out more information after their first assessment.  I went back to room 10 and watched the sun rise.

The day our daughter was born I saw the beauty in the creation of not just her life, but in the world around me.  In my tired state I marveled over the colors dancing in the sky.  It didn’t matter that it was coming up over construction and dirty machinery.  It was the most beautiful sunrise I ever saw.

I waited for what seemed like hours and was finally able to go to the NICU and be with our girl.  I was educated on how to scrub in and went through the dragonfly covered door to her little incubator.  I will admit in full honesty that I was glad Andy wasn’t there for my first meeting with her.  Biological mothers get to have that bonding time for 9 months (or so) while the baby is growing in them.  I hadn’t had that and was so happy that we could have a few minutes to bond alone.  I know that is selfish, but hey at least I willingly admit that.  The nurse was amazing.  She walked me through everything about the NICU.  I knew what to expect in the coming hours and what to hope for with the first 72 hours (what we were told would be the biggest challenge).  We were guarded but so far everything was ok.  She had a PDA (hole in the heart) and they were starting to treat that.  She would have cranial US to check on bleeding on the brain.  I was able to open the little door on the incubator and she grasped my finger and in that instant, my heart.  I talked to her and sat in silence staring at her.  Taking in her tiny little fingers and toes.  Watching her chest rise and fall.  Listening to the beeps and looking at the machines she was hooked up to.

With stories from the NICU.  I have a hard time knowing what to share.  Things happened quickly some days and other days not so quickly.  The omission of the massive amounts of details of what went on in the dragonfly wing of the NICU isn’t due to be uncaring or flippant about all that happened.  But rather I still can’t grasp what to say about it.  I almost feel callous in not writing more.  Most days were similar to the days before.  I would get to the hospital and go see the birth mom (she remained hospitalized after birth due to complications), then I would go to the NICU and scrub in.  I found a chair and would roll over to the incubator.  I would normally be met by the nurse and updated on progress or set backs.  I would then climb in my chair and talk to our sweet girl.  I would hold her hand.  Stroke the side of her face.  Tickle her tiny little toes.  It was just amazing and the images still come so vividly to me.

After the first doses of medications she still had a PDA and they were going to try another dose of medicine before they considered surgery.  Her oxygen was still good.  She had some help from ventilator, but wasn’t intubated.  She passed her cranial US with no bleeding.  She was a rock star.  She did have some episodes of Brady’s (forget to breathe), but I was assured that was normal with NICU patients.

One day I was at the incubator and the birth mom came in and we stood on each side of her and semi held her up for a family photo.  It was a moment I will never forget.  We marveled over how tiny she was and how dark her hair was.  There was a silence among us and looks of understanding, appreciation, and love between us.  A relationship that was so new and yet very deep.

Andy coming to meet her before he went on his next trip made me almost weep.  He couldn’t believe how tiny she was.  I told him, but he said seeing it for himself was surreal.

She passed the 72 hour mark with very little complications (except the PDA).  All of her cranial US came back normal and her blood work was great.  She was doing wonderful on the ventilator, but still wasn’t intubated and was breathing on her own too.

Day four is where things changed.  I got to the hospital and the nurse said she seemed a bit off the night before and now.  They were waiting on lab reports to come back, but thought she had an infection.  She was fussy and not comfortable.  The nurse showed me how to tuck her arms and legs into my palm and hold her securely in the incubator.  That seemed to help calm her.  Otherwise she would flail her arms and legs and cry (he tiny cry sounded like a kitten).  I sat with her for hours holding her arms and legs in the palm of my hand so she would be comfortable.  You could see the distress on her face and in her actions.  You could see it in her vitals and on the monitors.  It broke my heart.  There was nothing I could do to really help.  Touch seemed to help and I just wish that I could have held her.  I was informed that if she continued to have problems they would intubate to help relieve some of the stress on her body.  I asked them to call and let me know if they did that.

Results came back and she did have an infection and they started antibiotics.  They did intubate.

Wednesday morning I got a call asking me to come to the hospital because the doctors wanted to meet with us.  They informed us that she had a massive brain bleed likely caused by the severe infection.  We were all devastated.  Andy drove over from camp to talk with me and the doctor and to visit with our sick little girl.  Things changed so quickly it was hard to breathe.

Friday morning 8 days after her birth I got a call that the birth mom changed her mind and wanted to back out of the adoption plan.  I feel like there were so many factors in that decision and we will never know the extent of why she changed her mind, but she did.  That was her choice to make and we respect that decision.  Her decision kept us from having to make the decision to continue with the adoption verses backing out with such a poor prognosis.  A decision that neither of us wanted to make.  After the call I climbed in bed and grabbed onto Otis and cried.  For 8 days I had a little girl that I loved so much.  For 8 days I was a mother, not legally or biologically, but I loved that sweet baby with everything I had.  She was mine and I was hers.  It was an experience that showed me without a shadow of a doubt that shared DNA didn’t mean love.

It is important, I think, to note that we had a name picked out for our child.  Ever since we did infertility treatments we had a name.  The birth mother had chosen a different name and we planned on changing that at finalization to the name we fell in love with.  While I was alone I called the baby the name we intended to change it to.  But while others were around I respected the birth mother and called her Addy.  Since the birth mother changed her mind we have taken to remembering our time with her as Addy.  That is who she will always be to us.  Addy our little twitter-bird.

We were notified on Monday by our adoption agency that hours after the birth mother changed her mind.  Just 8 days into her life, Addy passed away.

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desparation then devastation

there is a time in my life where I need to realize some truths and accept them.  I am working on this – every day.  there is a long list and I don’t feel like this is the time to divulge that list in it’s entirety, but rather just glance at that list.

with the infertility journey and the adoption journey one of the truths that I have learned is that in the grand scheme of things I have no control.  I have no “real” say in my life.  yes I make decisions about what I am going to wear, what I am going to eat, what I am going to do, but this journey has opened my eyes that I can’t control everything, despite my best effort I just can’t.  I can make lists to control the happenings in my life (and the organization of my home), but in reality I don’t have control – just an illusion of control that I cling to with every breath.  if I had control I would have said “listen ovaries – you have one job – it is time to do it” and it would have worked.  if I had control I would have looked at my doctor and said “you have no option but to make this procedure succeed.”  but I don’t have control and I am learning – still – that there is nothing that I could have done differently or additionally to change the course of our journey.

this is where I feel like I should say “in reality we don’t have any control because God should be in control of our lives.”  whereas, yes I agree God should be the center of our lives and our decision making, this isn’t that type of post.

as stated in my last post we have been officially waiting for a year.  we have been passed over numerous times – for an entire year.  with that type of response or in this case lack there of,  I can’t help but think.  that thinking often leads me down a dark and narrow road full of doubt and sadness and longing.

a road that causes my imagination to run wild with “what ifs” and “what is.”

what if we are never placed?  what if I never get to be a mom and andy a dad?  what if I have robbed family of having the experience of us as parents?  what if andy will really one day regret not taking the “out” when he could?  what if he starts to resent me?  what if my life never feels complete?  what if that longing and desire never goes away?  what if I never get to experience all the things that fuel my fears?  what if I sink into misery and allow me not being a mother to destroy my soul?  what is so wrong with us that we haven’t been placed?  what is it that caused people to skip over our profiles?  what is the big picture and can I survive not having the control to understand right now?  what is the reason God gave me this desire to be a mother and paired that with bad ovaries?  what is the point – is there a point?  is this some sort of punishment from above?

that dark road is sometimes dotted with street lamps – glimpses of hope, answers, or things that get me back to the sunshine.  talking with other people that are waiting to be placed and hearing that they have the same fears – that I am truly not alone in some of those thoughts.  when andy tells me that he loves me and doesn’t resent me despite all the reasons that I have given him to feel the other way.  when I know someone looks at our profile and passes us by because they want a family that already has a child.  a beautiful sunset or sunrise over the mountains.  street lamps that brighten up my mind.

but sometimes the things on my road aren’t street lamps, but rather lanterns.  a little light that shines bright enough to tide me over.  not nearly as bright as the lamps, but still light enough to get me through.

these things usually show up right before I have a breakdown full of complete and total doubt and tears.  when I feel like I have come to the end of my road.  when i start to question why we are doing what we are doing.  when I am grasping at straws.  desperation for that normalcy and control.

desperation: a state of despair, typically one that results in rash or extreme behavior

synonyms: hopelessness, anguish, agony, distress

usually my desperation manifests in lists.  lots and lots of lists.  I clean things and organize things.  I constantly am trying to reorganize and make better.  trying to drown my thoughts with lists so that I can’t do anything but focus on what is in front of my face.  I write, take pictures, and create new projects around the house to occupy my mind.  it helps.  in the process of focusing on anything else, those doubts and sadness ebb away.  that longing is still there, but without the doubt it just turns back into “just waiting.”

once I realized that we had been waiting a year and that we had to update a bunch of our paperwork I started to feel overwhelmed and to be honest – sad and a little (ok a lot) mad.

**side “semi relevant” note**

there are times where I start to wonder if God is “doing” this to us because he thinks I would be a terrible mother.  or that other people think I would be a terrible mother so God is like “i agree.”  there was this time that I was with a group of people (and a young baby just a few months old) and everyone, except me, was being called away for just a moment.  the parents were trying to decide who would miss out and stay to give the baby the bottle.  I offered since I was not leaving and both of the parents looked at me like I was crazy.  like if God didn’t trust me with a baby, they weren’t going to either.  the parents exchanged looks and did let me feed their baby the bottle, but their looks and doubts just fueled that thought process.  it is possible that I was over sensitive to the situation and that I misread the looks and the hesitation, but in the moment those looks emphasized that God thought I would be a terrible mother and everyone agreed.

**end semi relevant side note**

so in my sad and a lot mad state I found myself thinking back to those events, of possibly not being trusted to give a baby a bottle, and to the thought process that God thinks  I would be a terrible mother.  my thoughts are fueled by fear of the unknown and once it takes root desperation sets in.  hopelessness overcomes rational thought and where my behavior isn’t always rash or extreme my thoughts tend to become that way.  I found myself on my dark narrow road, running.  running into the darkness looking for a street lamp to ease off the desperation.  I found a lantern.

at dinner saturday night dad told me that he was going back to the farm.  there was a calf down and he was going to have to bottle feed it.  I had been a hermit in my house working on various projects and told him I would be glad to go with him.  andy ended up getting home before we left to go to the farm and he joined in with us.  we loaded up our gear and headed into the muddy abyss.  the calf had gotten stuck in the mud and was weak but drank the bottle (and a little more).  dad made sure that it was in a nice bed of hay and warm and we left.

mudpie

sunday after church, dad, mom, and I gathered our gear and went back to check on the little calf.  as we drove up he was stretched out and his head was semi back  I leaned forward and said – “doesn’t look like good news,”  dad agreed.  as we got a tad closer he blinked.  I was ecstatic – he was alive.  we gave him another bottle and repositioned him to be more comfortable and in more warm hay.  dad decided that the little guy needed to be moved to the barn.  later sunday gene (live in farm hand/manager) was able to take the tractor and get the little calf to the barn; however, his mother was no longer interested in following her baby or the tractor to the barn.  it was left to us humans to nurse him back to health.  after youth on sunday andy and I headed to the farm to check on the little guy.  he was in the stall with his legs tucked under him and he was dry and warm in his bed of hay.  I sat on a bucket and fed him his bottle and he was my little “mud pie.”  cows normally moo but a little cow with pneumonia purrs like a little kitten.  he was given several shots to make him feel better.  I rubbed his fluffy little head and ears and told him that I loved him.  I put my hand under his chin and lifted his head up and made eye contact with him and told him to have a good night and that I would see him Monday.  dad sent me a message Monday morning that he drank his bottle and that he wanted to stand up but was still too weak.  he was still purring a little bit too.

I told andy that mud pie had to live.  he became my desperation.  I didn’t have a list this time, I had mud pie.  he had to live.  he was my way of proving to God and to the rest of the world that I can take care of a living thing.  that I could give a bottle and love.  that I could be passionate and that I could be the role of a mother.

Monday night after work I went to the farm and got there before my dad got back.  I went into the stall and mud pie was in a weird sling that dad and gene strung up to help insure that his legs were getting blood flow.  I grabbed my bucket and sat down in front of him and rubbed his head and said hello.  when I was rubbing his neck he leaned into my hand like a dog would do.  I told him about my day and he listened – he is after all a cow that couldn’t go anywhere even if he wanted to.  I noticed he wasn’t purring as much and was tap dancing with his front legs.  I informed him that he had to get better.  he had to at least try.  he mooed at me.  it was a moo filled with passion and anger and rebellion.  a moo that told me that he was a fighter.  after that I talked to him about my desperation and I rubbed his ears and he semi mooed in understanding.  dad showed up and we gave him his bottle and he drank most of it, but it was too early to let him out of the sling.  so we came back a few hours later and freed him and propped him up in his bed of hay.  I told him good night and we turned the light off bathing the stall in darkness.  my Tuesday morning update was about the same as the morning before.  Tuesday after work we went to check on him and dad said that he had been in his sling but was out for the night.  I walked into the stall and found little mud pie snuggled in his hay.  he tried to stand.  I tucked his feet under him and held his head up and talked to him while he drank his bottle.  we made eye contact and I told him how much I loved him and what a good and handsome boy he was.  we had to go to a meeting and I knew we wouldn’t be back Tuesday night so right before we left I went in and rubbed his head, told him good night and sweet dreams and walked away from my little mud pie.

mud2

Wednesday morning I got my morning update.  the subject of the e mail was mud pie.  I opened my e mail and read “I am sorry!  We tried.”

devastation: severe and overwhelming shock or grief

I sat facing my computer and silent tears escaped the rims of my eyes rolled down my face.  I reminded myself to breathe and stared at the words.  mud pie was gone.  my lantern burned out.  my desperation morphed into devastation.  I was devastated that he was gone and that my attempts failed.  I couldn’t even do right by a cow.  I couldn’t save him.  my thoughts quickly went down the road that maybe God is right, maybe I am not fit to be a mother.

Wednesday night, with those thoughts circling in my head, I curled up in bed and cried.  my eyes filled with tears that rolled down my face and puddled on my pillow, followed by choking sobs.  a soul drenching cry.

I woke up Thursday morning with a throbbing headache – remnant of my tears from the night before.  as we drove to work I watched the clouds play on the tops of the mountains and with no other rational thought – other than it made me smile, I had found my street lamp and was finding my way back to the main road.

it was during this time of desperation that I realized a few things.  one is that I have no control.  I can cling to the illusion as much as I want, but it will always just be an illusion I create for my peace of mind.  another is that this process, from start until present, is just a constant ride of ups and downs: the waiting, the emotions of being rejected, the unknown, the way a person will walk by with a stroller and my heart almost leaps out of my chest, the looks of pity from other people, the hope that we will be the family that we always envisioned.  something that is difficult to explain and difficult for people to understand is that sometimes there are no words to make me feel better about this stressful time of just waiting and of the unknown.  that sometimes even the most rational comments and insight will not sound rational to me.  this time, my little mud pie, taught me that in my times of desperation, stick to the lists.

part 1 of 4: the inconsolable soul – in the beginning

leaning against the cold wall with the taste of bile lingering in my nose and throat, my knees bent with my toes touching the base of the cold porcelain toilet, i knew i had to stop sobbing.  i was beyond the being sick phase and was dry heaving because there was nothing left to come out.  my cheeks were soaked from the shed tears and my head was starting to pound.  i gasped in some deep breaths and closed my eyes trying to pace my breathing – in (pause) and out, in (pause) and out,  swallow down the bile, repeat.  what got me in the floor of the bathroom in the house that i was raised in?  why was i here?  an inconsolable soul.

i offered my husband, a man that i love so incredibly much – an out.  i knew that i could never be the wife that he deserved/needed and with that realization came my deal to him – leave now with no questions asked.

rewind to 10 months earlier

10 months earlier, on a saturday in may (2010), i found myself in the ER.  i was at the church in Monroe getting things set up for the silent auction dinner (while andy was still at school) and i had a massive cramp that took my breath away and knocked me to my knees.  i was able to catch my breath and get up, but the cramp turned into more with each one getting more intense.  each month i get cramps (like most women) but i know my body and i knew that i have never ever in my life experienced pain like this.  it wasn’t much longer that i realized that i was bleeding uncontrollably.  i sucked it up and got through the set up until andy showed up and i eased away and called my doctor.  she said go to the ER.  i went and was told that i had a cyst rupture.  this was causing the cramps that took me to my knees (literally) several times and the bleeding and the clots.  i asked what that meant.  the ER doctor shrugged and told me to follow-up with my regular OB/GYN doctor.  i left the ER with less money, less pain, a cool paper bracelet, a million questions, and a level of fear and uncertainty that i hoped to never experience again.

i made an appointment with my regular doctor and told her what happened and she started doing tests.  she ordered labs and an ultra sound (this would be a good time to note that i was unaware of the different types of ultra sounds).   i went in the room and assumed that it would be the one that was “lift your shirt and put cold jelly on your belly.”  it wasn’t.  it was very uncomfortable – especially since i wasn’t expecting that kind and since i am a little modest to begin with.  if you want to know the details, google the different types of US to look at ovaries (hint – it is a little invasive).

this would be a good time to note that we weren’t “trying” to get pregnant, but we also weren’t “trying to not” get pregnant (i will admit i was very hopeful each month and would have been delighted).  after all the tests, my doctor asked a ton of questions and i told her this. she shifted her eyes down and i could tell she was buying time.  she said, “well alison, i don’t really know what to tell you.  it looks like something is wrong with your ovaries – they aren’t acting like they should.  it could be nothing but then again, i don’t know.”

she gave me 3 months worth of medicines to try and i took them.  nothing happened.  i went back and she told me that she didn’t think there was anything else she could do to help me so she set me up with a specialist.

 by this point in time we were given a shaky idea of what was wrong with my ovaries but nothing real solid.  we researched everything that we could to educate ourselves about our upcoming specialist appt.  we had no idea who we were seeing out of the group and didn’t know what was going to happen when we went, but i filled out 8 pages of new patient paperwork and we went to the appt.

we met our “specialist.” we will call him dr. w (for wildman).  when he walked into the exam room he looked like a cross between a sociopath and mad scientist with crazy hair  or someone who arrived each day at work via jumping out of a plane.  he walked in and i was tempted to walk out.  i thought it was a joke until he opened his mouth and something about his voice and his words calmed me.  it wasn’t that he was saying overly positive things – but that he was talking to me and answering the questions i had before i even asked them.  he was giving it to me straight and there wasn’t an ounce of sugar-coating anything.  he told us his initial thoughts and said that even though it looked like my doctor was doing a fine job he wanted to run his own test.  he told me i would have to come back and have my blood work done, but he wanted to go on and do an US.  he did it and this time at least i knew what to expect.  he made notes and told us (because he wanted to make sure exactly who’s infertility we were dealing with) when to come back for labs and said to follow-up afterwards.

a few days later i had to be at the office at 7am.  (i was instructed to drink as much water as i could because of all of the blood they would need).  when we got there we had to wait in line and my legs were crossed because i already had consumed almost 64 ounces of water.  i signed in and quickly learned that the lab was first come first served.  andy was called for his lab work and i was left sitting in a room wondering how much longer before i could pee.  after several people went, i was called.  i climbed into the vinyl chair and lowered the bar across my lap and rolled up my sleeves.  the lab tech came over and confirmed my name and date of birth.  she looked at my order and said “ok, let’s do this.”  i nodded.  she reached over and started pulling vials that she needed to fill.  she turned and asked if i had been drinking water this morning and i told her yes.  she smiled and said “good, because we have 16 vials to fill.”  i wanted to cry.  she sat down on a rolling stool and asked me which arm i wanted her to try first.  i looked at her and smiled and she laughed.  “you have hard veins don’t you?”  i nodded.  she laughed again and said, “well, here we go.”  in only the second time in my entire life, she stuck me once and got blood!  she filled the first vial and then the second and on and on until she had 16 vials full of bright red blood.  after i signed all of the labels i watched her put the stickers on all of my vials and went back into the waiting room and andy was waiting on me.

i went to work and kept my sleeves rolled down because a huge bruise was forming on my arm and i didn’t want to answer questions about it.  we went back to see dr. w a week later and went into his office (which i remember as being mostly organized, which seemed odd to me because of his hair).  even in our second meeting, it was like the first time we met him and made me think a little bit of jim carrey in ace ventura  when he drives with his head out the window – it made me smirk a little but then the reality of why were there came crashing down and the smirk faded away.  we sat in chairs and prepared ourselves for the results.

this is what we learned.  andy was perfect in every way.  all of his labs and test came back better than what dr. w could have hoped.

me on the other hand – it wasn’t good.  he stated that he thought the issue was with me and my ovaries.  he hesitated, but tossed out possibly pco.  he said he wanted to do one more test before we decided what to do.  he wanted me to have a hysterosalpingogram  (x-ray to see if my fallopian tubes were open).  he said once we had that answer, he would have a game plan for us (if it goes good, he tells us what he thinks we should do, and if it is bad, he gives us a few other options).

i showed up for that appointment at 8am and was humiliated.  the facility where i had to have this x-ray done is the same place people go for a million other tests, as well as radiation and other types of specialized treatments.  to look at the fallopian tubes, you have to go through the uterus.  when they called me back, the nurse escorted me to a door right next to 15 chairs in a waiting room (like a fitting room in a department store).  she reached in a built-in drawer in the closet, handed me a paper gown that opened in the back, told me to undress from the waist down and put the gown on then come on out to the waiting room (luckily she gave me a second gown to put on like a robe to cover my exposed back side).  i was mortified.  the waiting room wasn’t secluded at all.  there was a hallway (that might as well had been a highway full of people) right next to it.  i turned bright red, did what she said, took my plastic bag with over half of my clothes in it and found a seat.  it wasn’t long before i was joined by an elderly man wearing a similar gown and carrying a similar bag.  not long after he sat down, another woman sat down.  none of us would make eye contact.  it was humiliating to sit there and have all these people walk by staring.

they called my name and escorted me down the hall (i was so very grateful for the second gown at this point).  the nurse walked me into the room through a special door and pointed to another door. she told me to empty my bladder.  i did and she told me to sit down in the chair, and i did.  the room had a huge machine in the middle with computers all around.  there was another nurse standing behind a glass wall with more computers and more gadgets.  i didn’t see dr. w and i was a little nervous.  the nurse that had me sit down came over to talk to me.  she asked if i knew what was going to happen and i told her what i knew.  she verified that i was correct and added some details that i didn’t know.  she paused and asked if i had any questions and i did.  “i read online it hurts…is it going to hurt?”  she laughed and said “well, it will either be fine, with no pain or you will be in excruciating pain – that is what i see most.”  silently i am thinking “great, that wasn’t really reassuring.”  she leads me to the table and i climb up.  dr. w walks in.  there is something about his wild hair and sociopath killer look that is so familiar and surprisingly calming to me – i still haven’t figured that out yet.

he comes over where i am sitting on the table and takes both of my hands and asks if i am ready.  i nod.  he smiles and looks at the nurse and nods.  she comes over to him with a mask, x-ray padded vest-type-thing and x-ray thyroid guard.  the nurse is already in this get up.  i lay back and she drapes a padded vest over my chest and neck.  he walks me through the procedure: put your feet here.  this is going to be cold.  breathe. this is what i am doing now.  this is the dye i am about to inject. (about this time i notice that the nurse is right by my head and has been the entire time, but the other nurse, that was behind the glass, is now dressed like an alien with the rest of us and is helping dr. w).  the nurse asks if i am ok.  i barely nod.  dr. w asks if i am ok.  both the nurse and i nod. the nurse touches my arm as dr. w says “here it goes.  don’t forget to breathe, ok alison?”  i can actually feel the dye in me.  it is weird.  i hear the machine make noises and i see a flash of light above my head.  i try to look without moving and dr. w notices this.  he says, “go on, put your head back and look.”  i do and i see my uterus and fallopian tubes on the screen (at least that is what he tells me i am looking at).  he smiles, looks at me and says, “do you see that?  do you see mickey mouse?”  the nurse helping him takes a pointer and points out mickey’s face and ears.  i say yes.  he says “that is mickey and mickey is a good thing.  you have a happy uterus and fallopian tubes, meaning nothing is blocked.”  for the first time in the past 3 months since i was in the er, i was given good, positive news.  dr. w continues to walk me through the process and tells me when he is done.  he helps me to my feet and they send me through, back to the bathroom to finally get dressed. the nurse asks me if i am ok and if it hurt.  i tell her that, surprisingly, it didn’t, and that i am starting to cramp.  she tells me i should go home and take it easy.  i can’t because i have to go to work and act as if nothing is wrong or going on.

since everything was good, i talked to andy and told him the news.  i called shane (one of dr. w’s nurses) and told him to let dr. w know we want to proceed with the plan he laid out earlier since the x-ray was fine.  so i start some different medicines and in two months have my labs repeated (thank goodness they only took 3 vials of blood this time) and we go back to talk to dr. w in his office.  he tells us that my labs look better since i have been on the meds and he thinks we would be wonderful candidates for an IUI (intrauterine insemination).  we agree to go forward, he writes more prescriptions and tells us what to expect in the next month.  he gives us clear instructions, details and a smile.

in his smile i have a sense of hope.  hope in the form of dr. w.  hope in an IUI.  hope in andy, that his labs are perfect.  but the important thing is that, for the very first time in 5 months, i have hope.