Monday, September 30, 2013

The Wilson's Make Boys

"The Wilson's make boys."  How many times have I heard this statement?  My husband is one of three boys.  My brother and sister in law have two boys.  Our son is a boy.

My other brother in law and his girlfriend are pregnant and they find out the sex of the baby tomorrow. Both of them posted a "what do you think we're having?" type status on Facebook today.  And of course one of the comments was "well, the Wilson's make boys so...."

Actually, one Wilson made a girl once.  She didn't make it.  But she was made and she was very important to me.  And every single time someone talks about how the Wilson's only make boys it hurts.  I know no one is trying to hurt me, but it hurts nonetheless.

And I feel like when I don't say anything, when I don't stand up for her and say "There WAS a girl, a Wilson made a girl, I MADE A GIRL," I am somehow letting her down.  Or dishonoring her little life. Allowing people to ignore her existence.

Hurt.  Guilt.  Sadness.  It doesn't come as often.  But it still comes.

I'm going to go take a shower and MY two Wilson boys will come home from the park and the hurt and sadness will fade for now.

Friday, September 27, 2013

We're LIVE

Friday, September 27th.  We're "live."  Our birthparent letters are at the agency, waiting to be handed out.  Our online profile is up and running, ready to be looked at.  Pretty huge.  Exciting and scary stuff.

So now we hurry up and wait.  Wait for someone to call.  Wait for someone to look at our letter and see something or read something that makes them want to learn more about us, to talk to us.  Wait for someone to click on our profile and look at our pictures and read the descriptions we so carefully wrote.      Wait for someone to decide that we would be the right parents for their baby. Wow.

Needless to say, our 800 number hasn't shown up on my phone today.  But wouldn't that have made an incredible story?

I would write more but my little man is coming in to kiss me for the hundredth time today (he is in a  very lovey phase - pretty awesome).  He will help to make this wait for this child much easier than the last wait, that's for sure.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Barren Bitches Book Brigade Post

I participated in Mel's Barren Bitches Book Brigade this month.  We read "The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption" by Lori Holden (

My husband and I have been in the process of deciding if we should adopt a child for a lonnnnnng time and I had gotten to the "let's shit or get off the pot" point.  I know this is a big decision - HUGE - not one to be taken lightly or decided on a whim.  But I mean, we'd done the research, listed the pros and cons, thought long and hard, found an agency we loved, slept on it, etc, etc.  And I recently told him that I just needed to KNOW.  We needed to actually make a decision.  I felt like I could deal with the outcome either way, I just needed to KNOW so I could move on with my life.  And then I saw the book club selection and thought "this is a sign."  Not necessarily a sign that we should or should not adopt, but that we should DECIDE and move forward.  So I signed right up, ordered me a copy from Amazon and read it all in one sitting the day it arrived.  That's how I roll.

What did we decide?  Shall I keep you in suspense?  Or should I tell you that one week and one day from now we will be attending our agency's workshop to sign a contract, work on our birthparent letter and get started on the home study?  WOO HOO!  I'm so excited.  And scared.  And so many other things.  But that's for a later post (many later posts I'm sure...)

Here are my responses to the questions:

Lori refers to the relationship between adoptive parents and birthparents as similar to an in-law relationship.  Does thinking about the relationship as an in-law relationship influence how you approach open adoption?

It did influence me.  To be honest, the part of open adoption that makes me the most uneasy is the relationship with the birthparents.  It's the unknown.  The fear of lack of control. The wondering what it will actually be like, what it will look like, how it will feel.....But thinking of the birth parents as similar to in-laws makes sense to me and makes it feel less scary.  It makes me feel like, I can possibly relate to this new relationship in some way.  That I have some experience to pull from, that it's not completely new or unknown.  I happen to like my in-laws and don't find them scary at all, but the analogy works regardless ; )  

I know finding my parents' receipts related to my adoption stung when I found them. And I lashed out hard. And I was old enough to not be so reactive (this was just a few years ago) but was despite myself. Like adoption, any type of assisted reproduction has money changing hands and sometimes several. How have you, or will you talk about this with your child/ren?

I hadn't thought about this one from that perspective.  The money ultimately doesn't matter to me.  Our son was conceived through fertility treatments which cost a lot of money.  Adopting our second child will cost lots of money too.  And of course, I wish we didn't HAVE to spend so much money to have kids.  I'd rather go spend it on a fabulous vacation or save it to buy a house....but at the end of the day, its worth it to me.  I'm not sure how I would talk about it with my children.  I don't think its something I would bring up.  But if they asked questions I would tell them what they wanted to know.  I'm not ashamed that I had to spend money to have children.  That's just the hand we were dealt.

The term “Real Mother” or “Real Parents” comes up quite frequently in an adoptee’s life.  Lori suggests in her book that we see each set of parents (birth and adoptive) as “Real”.  Do you agree?  How would you personally handle this terminology? And are there other ways to effectively deal with this term if used by your child or directed at your child by another?

I agree with her.  Birth parents are REAL.  Adopted parents are REAL.  We are all real live humans.  I like the way Lori talked about dealing with it saying "we are both real - let me pinch you (although I'd want to say punch you) to show I'm not fake."  Again, I'm not totally sure what I'd say, but I think going through pregnancy loss and infertility has given me some experience with well-meaning, but awkward questions and comments.  

I thought the book was WONDERFUL.  I'm sure I will be referring to it many times over the next weeks, months, and years.  Lori's approach makes sense to me - what's best for the child is the most important thing.  I am already a mother to my son so I know to my core what it means to put your child first.  I can do that.  There are definitely pros and cons to open adoption.  There are things that I am apprehensive about.  But if open adoption is what's best for my child, and I believe that it is, than that is what I will do.  "Open adoption is a process, not a process in time."  I think Lori's book is a great resource for navigating the process.  Just looking back and rereading some of what I highlighted helps me breathe and focus as I answer these questions and think about the difficult or uncomfortable times that may lie ahead on our journey.  

I feel like I could have written long, rambling page-long answers to each question but I've been busy making some big decisions this week!  And I have forms to fill out!  And episodes of The Voice on my Tivo!

Please return to the main post to read more opinions on Lori Holden's The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption

Monday, March 18, 2013

Consciousness and Light

Let me start off by saying that I am not a good enough writer (evidenced by the use of the phrase "good enough writer") to properly express what I want to in this post.  But I'll give it a shot....

I was catching up on reading blogs the other day and read this quote in this post:  

"There is no coming to consciousness without pain." Carl Jung

And I thought YES.  

For a couple of years now, I have struggled with how to describe how losing the baby changed me.  How, even though its the worst thing that ever happened to me, I appreciate how it changed me.  I like myself better.  I feel different.  Until I read this quote, I would describe it (to myself) as I feel more "awake."  Awake to the highs and lows.  Awake to the blessings in my life - my husband, my family and friends, the roof over my head, the pedicure I get once a month.....I felt such a deep, awful sadness for a long time after we lost the baby.  Just NOT GOOD for years.  But feeling that low has made me so much more aware of the highs.  So much more thankful for the good.

The whole quote is actually this:

"There is no coming to consciousness without pain.  People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul.  One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."

Now, I'm not sure if I completely understand the whole thing.  The first sentence is what really rings true for me.  But I think the rest of the quote is saying that people will do anything to avoid feeling pain and facing the darkness.  For many years, that's what I did.

Losing the baby and struggling to get pregnant are definitely the hardest things I have ever had to face.  But they are not the only tough events in my life.  I'll describe two other "life-altering" events:  When I was a freshman in college, my suitemate fell off the tenth floor balcony of our dorm and died.  I saw her dead body.  I was drinking with her 5 minutes before she fell.  It was awful.  How did I deal with it?  I drank A LOT.  I made partying my de facto major.  It was so much easier to have fun and drink and be a wiseass.  I got married to my college boyfriend when I was 25.  While he was a perfectly nice guy and on paper, seemed like the perfect husband for me, it was a mistake.  To make a long story short, less than a year after our wedding, I left him.  Going through the divorce - hurting him that way, disappointing my parents and some of my closest friends, turning my life upside down - was incredibly difficult.  Even though I knew it was the right thing to do for me.  How did I deal with it?  I drank A LOT.

Now, I did learn things from both experiences.  Saying I drank A LOT is probably an over-simplification of how I dealt with both events.  I didn't drink ALL the time.  But I made sure I didn't really feel the pain.  I kept myself busy with school and work and partying and going out and taking naps.

When I lost the baby, I had a few moments of thinking "I could just become an alcoholic.  I could drink all the time.  I could move away and start a new life..."  Obviously, I did not do any of these things.  I plugged along.  I felt pretty blue for a very long time.  But I kept living.  And I learned a lot about myself.  And my husband.  And my friends.  And through that grieving process (and there was more pain to come) I think I became more "conscious."  More appreciative of the good days or even just good moments.  More conscious of the good people in my life and more appreciative of how blessed I am to have a husband and family and friends who love and support me.  And I think (hope) I've learned to be more empathetic to other people and their pain.

Moving on to my second "aha".....

Friday I saw a production of the show "Next to Normal."  I have NEVER cried so much during a musical.  Or a play or a movie......I mean, there have been some episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Parenthood that got me good.  But I watch those at home by myself when its a tad less embarrassing to be sobbing and sniffling.  There was one moment in the show where I was literally biting my finger to keep myself from completely falling to pieces.  I don't know if it was the glass of wine I had with dinner (and the glass of champagne before the show started) or the fact that I am still feeling vulnerable and not quite physically recovered from my hysterectomy.  But man, that show got me in a very deep place.

"Next to Normal" is the story of a woman's struggle with bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness has on her family.  I knew the basic premise going in.  I'm on the board of my community theatre and I helped picked the show.  I also knew that one of the characters in the show is her son and at some point the audience figures out that he is actually dead and that his presence in the story is in her mind.  So I was prepared with my little packet of tissue.  I expected to cry and I expected it to be heavy.

I did NOT know that her son died when he was a baby.  And I did not expect to identify so much with her story and her feelings and her pain.

For some reason I went into the show thinking that her son died when he was a teenager.  And I feel like that would not have upset me as much.  Because I have never lost a teenage son.  I've never been a mother to a teenage son.  It seems like something I can empathize with with and feel truly sad about but not really KNOW.  I have never lost a real live, held in my arms and loved for 8 months baby either.  But I have lost a 5 month fetus, who sure as fuck felt like a real baby to me.  And I have had a miscarriage.  And I had lots and lots of trouble getting pregnant.  And I am the mother to a beautiful three year old son who was a baby not that long ago.  Most of the terrible pain and great joy of my life is about "babies."  The loss she experiences feels closer to mine.  Feels more like something I actually KNOW or could know.

Again, her story is not mine.  I don't have bipolar disorder.  I never acted "crazy."  I never tried to burn down the house.  But I can relate to her loss and struggle and pain.  And I think I realized a couple of years ago that I was, in fact, depressed after I lost the baby.  No one ever said that to me at the time.  I never went to a therapist.  I never felt like I needed medication.  I never felt like killing myself.  I only had fleeting thoughts of becoming an alcoholic or running away.  Mostly, life went on in the same way it did before our loss - I went to work, we saw friends, we took vacations.  But at the same time, everything had changed.  And I was very, very sad.  And I was different.  And even after I felt "better," life was just, grey.

I feel like I'm starting to wander here.

At the end of the show, there is a beautiful song (which they sang perfectly) called "Light."

Day after day,
We'll find the will to find our way.
Knowing that the darkest skies will someday see the sun.
When our long night is done, 
There will be light.

And I thought YES.  

There will be light.  Life is inevitably filled with darkness and hard times.  But we keep plugging along.  And someday, there will be light.

For me, Finn was the light.  I've thought and said it numerous times - he brought the color back to my world.  From February 27, 2007 (the day we found out that our baby had anencephaly) to the day that Finn was born almost three years later, life was dark.  Some days were terribly dark - no light to be found.  And others were darkISH - cloudy, foggy, grey.  But then he came into our lives.  And there was light again.

If I were a better write, I would have some fabulous way to tie this all together at the end here, but I'm not, so I don't.....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2012 Recap

Okay so this is the recap I did last year that I stole from another blog.  I realize its almost the end of January.....but it's taken me five tries over the course of the past month to get this post written.  I'm just glad I finished it!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Ate raw lamb - at Morimoto's in Napa.  It was fekkin DELICIOUS.
Had a girl's weekend away - with some of my absolute BEST friends.  Best weekend I've had in years, if not ever.
Went to preschool - well it's one day a week, I go with him program.  But he gets to play with other kids and I get to hang out with some cool moms.
*After reading this back, I decided that I am STILL a boring person and I need to do more exciting new things in 2013.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Here's my resolutions from last year:

1. Blog/journal more.  Ummmm, no.  And its on my list AGAIN for this year.  You've heard of "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?" Well, one of these years I am actually going to write more.  Or I'll stop making it my resolution.

2. Spend more quality time with my husband. Ummmm, no.  Its on my list again this year too.  But I ask you, what parents of young children get to spend LOTS of quality time together?  Please don't say most or I will feel worse about myself.  I feel like this is a stage of life we just have to get through.  We also have to be better at making time for US, but I think that will get easier as Finn gets older.

3. Come to a decision about adopting a baby. Ummm, no.

4. Live in the moment. Be present.  Yes!!!!  I was MUCH better at this.

So basically I sucked at my new year's resolutions.  Good job Leah.  Will I make new one's for 2013?  I don't think so.  Instead, I think I will make a list of small, specific things I'd like to do or accomplish this year.  I love making lists and I love crossing things off my list.  So if I make a (short) list of things I'd like to accomplish this year, it seems more likely that I will actually DO them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes.  Max and Betsy.  

Max was my cat of almost 20 years.  I got him when I was a sophomore in college.  He was my right hand man for a very long time.  After he was gone, I sat and thought about that great little kitty and how long he was in my life.  He was with me in college.  He was with me when I moved to Monterey and got married for the first time.  He was with me when I got divorced and was back on my own again.  He was with me when I moved in with G$, when we got married, when we lost the baby, when we had Finn.  He was a good ol' kitty.  And crazy as can be (quirky from the start, but legitimately crazy at the end).  I will think of him every time I open a can of tuna, still partly expecting him to come running from wherever he was in the world, to meow and rub against my legs waiting for me to let him lick the can.

Betsy was my best friend's mom.  She was one of my "other moms." I have 3 other moms.  The moms of my oldest and closest friends.  Ladies who watched me grow up - who HELPED me grow up.  Cooked me dinner, took me on vacation, were present at all the major milestones - birthdays, proms, graduations, weddings, baby showers.  She was a huge part of my life.  And one great lady.  I sort of still can't believe that she's gone.  And the pain my friend is going through?  Brutal.  I just can't imagine losing my mom.  I'm not ready for that.  Two other close friends lost their moms last year too.  I guess it's just the stage of life we are in.  Our parents are getting OLD.  Wow.
5. What countries did you visit?
None!!!  We didn't travel much at all actually.  We went camping twice.  And I think that's it.  Yikes.  But we recently booked a trip to Hawaii.  I haven't been since college and G$'s never been.  I cannot wait!  The thought of warm weather, beautiful beaches, fresh fish, pina coladas (okay, I don't like pina coladas, but it sounds so tropical) and time to relax sounds SO GOOD.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A night away with my husband.  

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 7 - the day Betsy died.  December 19 - my hysterectomy

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

The short sale

9. What was your biggest failure?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Well, "illness or injury" isn't quite accurate.  But I have continued to deal with chronic pain since my c-section. Long story short, I had severe scarring - inside my uterus and out.  My hysterectomy was the first time a doctor has actually been in there and able to see what was really going on.  Turns out my uterus was stuck to my bladder and my abdominal wall.  Like seriously stuck.  Which caused all sorts of problems.  So they took out my uterus and cut down the adhesions.  And hopefully I will live pain-freely ever after.  The jury is still out by the way.  Its been almost 6 weeks since my surgery.  Can't tell yet if I'm cured....

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I signed up for a organic produce box delivery and I love it.  The stuff tastes GREAT and it forces me to try new things.  Santa brought Finn a trampoline and that will help me survive the winter.  I bought some really cool boots.  Which I haven't even worn yet....
12. Where did most of your money go?
For two years in a row.....the mortgage.  But this year its the mortgage/rent since we are no longer home owners.  We also spent quite a bit on medical bills.

13. What did you get really excited about?
The short sale.  The girls weekend for my friend's 40th birthday.  My hysterectomy.  

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
God, the first thing that comes to mind is Gangnam Style.  Finn friggin LOVES that song.  He'll say, "Put Hey Sexy Lady on!"  And he'll dance and dance and run around the house.  Home by Phillip Phillips is another.  I mean, it's totally overplayed and really bother me that the guy's last name is the plural of his first name, but I just love that song.  It reminds of the Olympics (I love the Olympics!!!) and it reminds me of Greg.  Even if we have just gotten into an argument or he's driving me crazy in some way, if that song comes on, I think of him and smile and remember how much i love him.  He is my home.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Hmmm, probably about the same.
– thinner or fatter?  the same, but with more muscles.  And I hate to be vain, but I love it!  I've never really had defined muscles and now my arms are pretty awesome.  Well, not right NOW, I haven't been able to do Zumba for two months, but they WERE looking good and they will again. 
– richer or poorer? We have about the the same amount of money in our bank accounts but I'll say we're richer because we no longer own a house that is worth $200,000 less than the mortgage.  Having that weight off our shoulders feels good.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

More writing, more dates with G$, read more books.  Pretty much the same list as last year.  I'm starting to get depressed.  I've got to moving on these things.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Watched less TV, worried less about crazy stuff

18. How did you spend Christmas?
Laying down and popping pills.  My surgery was on the 19th so I was still feeling pretty shitty on Christmas.  But it was still wonderful.  I love the holidays!  My brother and sister-in-law-to-be made a FABulous dinner on Christmas Eve at our house.  And now we have a big enough dining room for everyone to sit comfortably!  Finn totally understood Santa this year and we left him cookies and milk (and carrots for the reindeer of course).  And seeing his little face in the morning whne he saw that Santa left him what he asked for under the tree brought a  tear to my eye.  It was precious.  And Christmas morning at Greg's mom's house was my favorite yet.  So even though (or maybe because...) I was drugged up and laid out, it was wonderful.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Pretty much the same ones as last year - The Amazing Race, Project Runway, Grey's Anatomy, Top Chef, Modern Family.  Two new shows I love?  Parenthood and The New Normal.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Fifty Shades of Grey.  Just kidding, I'm the one woman in America who hasn't even read it.  And doesn't want to.  I already feel insecure enough about my sex life thank you very much.  I just finished Middlesex.  I didn't LOVE it, but I thought it was so smart and interesting.  I can't remember anything else I read.  I didn't read enough that's for sure.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Nothing new.  Although I really loved listening to this kids Christmas CD with Finn.  We would dance after dinner every night and he would sing along and it was so adorable.  

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I think the only movie I saw last year was "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."  I LOVED the books.  And I thought the movie was very good.  Mara Roony (or is it Roony Mara?) is the perfect Lisbeth.  Now thatI think about it, did that movie come out in 2012 or 2011?  Oh Lord.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 39, which means this year is the big 4-0.  I had dinner with some friends at one of my favorite restaurants.  It was a warm night and we ate out on the patio.  We had a couple cocktails, ate seafood and laughed and laughed.  It was great.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being pain free.  Having another baby.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
In two words: Yoga pants.  

26. What kept you sane?
my friends

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

I'm not eloquent enough to accurately put into words the lesson I take away from 2012, but I'll try....

Life is hard.  Seriously, it just is.  And even when it's not particularly hard, it's still not EASY.  I pretty much have spent the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 laying around, recovering from my surgery and it's given me lots of time to think.  And as the end of the year approached, I started thinking about how 2012 was a rough one.  For me and for many of my friends and family.  We lost our house, found out that we will never get pregnant again, I had 2 wasn't the worst year of my life, but it had its challenges.  And the truth is, life feels like a challenge a lot of the time. And I don't think its going to get any easier.  Its possible its just going to get harder.   Am I the only one who feels this way?

But here's the lesson.  Good people, friends and family, are what make life worth living.  And I am lucky to have MANY good people in my life.  People who help me through the rough times.  People who are there to celebrate the good times.  And the good people in my life have taught me how to be a better person and a better friend.