A Family of my Own – Fertility Conference in Houston

You may remember this from last year, but the Houston fertility conference is upon us again.  I went last year andwe felt it was a good use of our time and was helpful while in the early stages of the infertility loop.   information.   They also had information on private adoption for those that are considering that as a way to begin their family.  

It looks like the time has expanded from last year which I assume means more classes.  The actual agenda isn’t up yet but it does list the topics that will be addressed.     Attendees also recieve the brand new 2013-14 Adoptive Families Guide, 120+ pages of useful information.  Uhmmm…that wasn’t an endorsement since I haven’t read it BUT it’s free!  Registration is free!  Get on it!

Saturday, November 9, 2013
9 AM – 3 PM

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston 6
Greenway Plaza
Houston, TX

http://afamilyofmyown.com/2013-houston-tx/

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What We Learned…

The Hubster and I went to the Fertility and Adoption Conference on Saturday.

I thought it was great to see the different vendors for different fertility options and adoption.  I will admit that I was a bit disappointed in the number of organizations.  I thought there would be many more agencies to talk about what they offer.  Perhaps that was the vision of the conference organizers since too many agencies may be overwhelming.  We also saw some information about embryo adoption, or donation as it is termed in Texas.  I had never really heard of this but I mentioned it to the hubster as something to take into consideration.  I’ll have to explore my thoughts on that in a future post.

We went to two sessions.  The first was Beyond Adoption 101 with Leslee Murphy, a lawyer from the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.  Hes session was mainly basic information like you cannot use a facilitator in Texas to help match you with a birthmother, you must use an agency.  You can use a lawyer for a private adoption only if you have found your own birthmother.  But the private adoption route also seemed to have some complications with the irrevocability of the documents.

The second session was a split between Open Adoption in Texas and Foster to Adopt programs.  The adoption agency, Independent Adoptions, specialized in open adoptions.  Any prospective adoptive parent would need to be open and interested in having ongoing visits with the birthparents of their child. They seems to be way more stringent than agencies that allow you to determine you level of openness from no contact, to cards and letters, to complete openness.  I’m not sure Independent Adoptions is for us.  But I appreciate the session because it was the hubster’s first primer on the adoption process.  I’ve been reading about this for months so I feel like an old pro.  The second half was Depelchin’s Children Center about foster-to-adopt.  I think this is a great option and I would love to foster and adopt through the foster care system but I think our first priority will be to focus on infant adoption.

All in all, I felt like it was a good use of our time.  At one point, hubster leaned over and said, “you know, everyone in here is going through something just like us.”  Yes, baby.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own situation.  It’s nice to know that there are other people who understand your journey.

P.S.  I wonder if there is a conference where all the agencies show up to talk about their programs.  I think that would be nice.  I might have to look  into that more.

The Real Cost of Infertility: Fatigue

I’m tired ya’ll.

I feel like the medicine has worn me down, the doctor appointments, work, and just the stress of not knowing.  And then I feel guilty.  I read about women who have gone through multiple YEARS of meeting with doctors, many failed months of timing cycles, and then moving on to months of attempting to get diagnosis, and then Clomid cycles, then IUIs, then failed IVFs and are still trying.  So who am I to be tired after two weeks of taking injections.

But I am.

I’m tired of feeling like our family is incomplete.  I’m tired of my husband being sad.  I’m tired of people asking me if I have kids.  I’m tired of my grandmother telling me she is just holding on so she can see my child.  I’m tired of my mother feeling like she’ll never have grandkids.  I’m tired of having pregnancy discussions with people who are pregnant and I’m not.  I’m tired of kid-centered discussions.  I’m tired of looking at this empty bedroom that’s earmarked for a baby.  I’m tired of thinking about it.

The Real Cost of Infertility Part I

I’m thankful.

I was in the RE’s finance office – which I am often. I was there to reconcile my bill with my Explanation of Benefits. Yes, I read all of my Explanation of Benefits. I didn’t use to. I used to throw them in the trash. I really didn’t know what they were. Silly, silly girl. Hey, you live and learn. *shrug* But now, I’m my own financial advocate. I might have to do a post on that.

ANTYWAY- I overheard the finance lady counseling a patient and she was showing her options on how she could finance her cycle. Do you know they have special finance companies for this? She was telling her that a fresh cycle with a frozen cycle would be ten thousand dollars. Yes ma’am. And that did not include prescriptions. I felt so bad because the woman looked so sad. I wanted to give her a hug.

Infertility costs. This is one of the prescriptions that lasts TWO days. That is all. $247. Did you see that retail price is over two thousand dollars.

When Monica Mingo at creoleoindc would talk about how blessed she was that her family could afford the treatments, I didn’t really understand. Now I see that God was working things out. When we first started saving, we were just…you know saving money. We didn’t have a plan. But God planted that seed in my mind, and he allowed us to be faithful in our savings. So that we would be prepared.

So I’m thankful.

Be fruitful,

Melodi

You Ain’t Halle Berry

I was in the RE’s office and was reading one of those gossip mags like Life and Style or People. They had a little insert showing celebrities that had their children over 35 with their kids. The tagline was something to the effect of ‘don’t lose hope…women are having babies well into their 40s’. Hmmmm…

It’s interesting because I hear that same refrain in my younger girlfriends. We see it newspaper articles, magazines and all over television. People say that to your friends, “Girl, you know you can always have a baby. Halle Berry had one in her 40’s.” I’m sorry girlfriend, but you ain’t no Halle Berry.

These celebrities aren’t us everyday women with bills that take up majority of our paychecks, with real folks savings accounts or not, with jobs that don’t always allow for us to take off when we need to make the NUMEROUS doctor visits, with limited or in some cases NO medical insurance that supports fertility procedures. They don’t show the women who are charging fertility treatments on credit cards, who are financing drugs with their home equity.

The media makes it seems that whenever you are ready, you can just go to the doctor and poof, a miracle happens. I was pleased to see Tamar and his sisters talking about infertility on Braxton Family Values. But after a couple of visits to the doctor, Tamar informed us that she had four embryos on the freezer. Not a word about the multiple shots she had to take, the early morning visits, the soreness or anything else. So to the rest of the world, it seems pretty easy

I think it’s wonderful that science is making it possible. But I think people need to get a realistic understanding on what this is. I wish more black women were talking about this…

One is a Lonely Number

I never thought infertility would be so lonely.

We finally got scheduled and I was verbally given instructions. Take the birth control pills until Monday and come for a doctor’s visit to see how things are progressing on Friday. So why did I mess up and stop taking the pill on Friday and thought I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday?

I was kind of happy because I thought my husband’s schedule was going to allow him to come with me. He was kind of leary because he didn’t think I had an appointment but I was sure. Very sure. Until I looked at my calendar. And then I broke DOWNT.

I mean I cried. I cried because I was sure that I had messed up the entire cycle. I cried because I was so wrong. I cried because I felt I had let my husband down. I cried because I was scared of the whole process anyway. I cried because I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. I cried because we have to work so hard for our family when other people just “accidently” become parents. I cried for any and everything I could think of. I know the Hubster was scared because I rarely cry and I was inconsolable. I wanted to crawl into bed and just be sad.

But I went to work which helped. I called the doctor and they said I would just have to wait until my appointment to see how my body reacted.

So I’m working this out….alone

No Father’s Day for the Bear

Bear was in a baaaad mood today. He really was having a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day. It was very unlike him and I was wondering what was bothering him. He made a little comment that he shouldn’t have to do anything because it’s Father’s Day. Of course, I didn’t make it easier when I didn’t respond appropriately. I’m never good at that. I always think about it after the words have come out.

Sometimes we get wrapped into our own issues, that we forget our men are suffering too. For him, this was another year that arrived without a child in his life that he could call his own. It bothers him…way more than it probably bothers me and I need to be more sensitive to that. Even though he doesn’t or can’t articulate it, ever day that goes by without a child is a failure to him. As his wife, and his best friend, I have to make sure that he knows what a success he is to me.

Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine

My friend that I’ll call call Pinky recently found out she is pregnant.  We’ve been friends for a while and have shared feelings about having children including our fears that we might lose ourselves in the process and how others might perceive us if we speak about this too much or too loudly.

So when she found out she was pregnant, of course she had mixed feelings.  For the 35 and older set that are making weekly trips to the fertility clinic, this is a mortal sin.

pinky: thank you for reminding me about my own blessings.

medodi: ??

pinky: well, I thinking I have been selfish about the whole pregnancy thing. God has blessed me and I think I have been very selfish

melodi:  you know what – there is nothing wrong with understanding the higher blessing while still taking time to process

pinky: just worried about me, me, and me

melodi: and with that process comes feelings that are uncomfortable and may even sound selfish.  we can always say, i’m blessed and try to stuff down other feelings but that is unfair to ourselves.  you can be blessed and apprehensive at the same time

pinky: true

melodi: i guess i’m just saying, don’t feel like you always have to be happy, like you don’t have a right to feel conflicted.  i would never look at you and think, “well, she shouldn’t complain because” yadda, yadda, yadda

pinky:  I know you wouldn’t  but I need to get better about that

melodi: maybe some would, but i feel like our feelings around children, and our lifestyle and our bodies are complex and they deserve consideration

pinky: true

melodi: your blues ain’ like mine, but i didn’t have my belly split open either

pinky: yes so very true. I have gotten real cautious since my line sister has had 6 rounds of IVF and still a no go, and now she is working on a surrogate. I feel nervous about having a baby then I feel like I’m being a snot because I didn’t want a baby a fraction as much as she does and she can’t conceive

it makes me feel bad and I don’t want to voice how I feel because I don’t want to sound ungrateful. So I know there is a balance but sometime its hard to strike it, and everyone is not as forgiving as you are

This is a hard one.  For someone that is having their own fertility issues, I’ll admit, I felt some kind of way when she told me that she was pregnant.  It was a quick, fleeting,ugly little feeling and I felt guilty because I was really happy for her.   We all have these little ugly thoughts.   As long as we remember that while we are going through our own struggles, we have to support our friends through theirs.  They have their own blues too.

 

Where are all the black women that adopt?

As Bear and I continue on the fertility road, I’ve been doing more and more research on adoption.  Most of my “research” has consisted of  periodically checking on the forums at adoption.com (http://forums.adoption.com/) and reading blogs from the beginning.  I swear, some of these women are so great at writing, I feel like I have to go back to the first entry and read everything to date.  Is that weird?

I really am looking for black women that blog about infertility and adoption.  I have looked all over the interwebs and can’t find a single blog.  If someone happens along on this blog, I would appreciate it if you would send the link.  Black women need to share their stories.