Right after Noah left I knew it was time for another surgery for my endometriosis, so in February I had my fifth pelvic laparoscopy. The thing about these surgeries (other than that they stop my pain for about 6-8 months) is that our best chances of getting pregnant are in the few cycles after surgery. Both Aurelia and our 2nd baby were conceived in the first medicated cycle after surgery. So we decided that even though we were grieving, even though we were crushed by the loss of Noah and knew we weren't yet ready to welcome another child into our family, we also knew biology wouldn't wait around for our emotions to catch up. We had to try while the window was open or we knew we would likely regret it.
We did 4 or 5 cycles, alternating between Clomid and Femara. Surprise! Almost no one knew we were attempting to get pregnant last March through August. There is no surprise beyond that though. None of the cycles worked. I never even ovulated. This was also when we found out my uterus was all crumpled up.
Side note*** If your doctor wants to start you on Clomid or Femara, CHOOSE FEMARA. Clomid has known awful side effects, Femara doesn't. I've gotten cycsts on every single cycle of Clomid over the last 6 years, I've never noticed a side effect with Femara. Clomid can make you crazy (a known side effect), Femara won't (shouldn't).
Anyway, yes we were "trying" but we weren't really really trying. We were trying with very little expectation of any success.
Over the next few months after Noah's passing we started picking up the pieces. We were at a crossroads with a lot to consider and a huge life course determining decision to make. Do we continue trying to add to our family? If we do then how?
When Daniel and I have a choice to make we like to weigh all our options, consider all of them and then make a prayerful decision together.
These were the viable options in front of us...
Within domestic adoption we could either stay using the agency we've been with (the one we no longer trusted), move to a different agency, or use our current agency and another concurrently.
We researched a TON of agencies, adoption attorneys and every other avenue of domestic adoption all over the country. Most agencies want money for an application fee, most agencies have an adoption fee of at least $20k and it's not uncommon to reach $35k or more.
We knew when we moved from fertility treatments to adoption that it was absolutely the direction we were supposed to go in. We had constantly felt that this was where we were supposed to be...until Noah passed away. After that it was like those firm "stay here" feelings disolved. We no longer felt that this was something we were supposed to actively pursue.
Right now we're still open to adopting from the US but aren't going to be using an agency. I feel strongly that IF this is how another child comes to our family then it will be through someone we know either choosing us as parents for their child, or making the connection for us.
Last summer international adoption was brought to our attention. We haven't felt particularly drawn to international adoption before but knew if we were to adopt internationally we would choose a special needs adoption.
We spoke with a few agencies and learned about the adoption programs in various countries. We learned all the requirements (required age, required travel, etc.) then narrowed down to programs we qualified for. I'm too young to adopt from most countries so that narrowed the pool quite a bit. Then we narrowed again by which countries requirements we felt were a good fit for our family and ended up feeling good about two countries.
We decided international adoption isn't the right choice for our family right now, but both of us feel like this is a very real possibility further down the road. The seed has been planted so we'll see what grows later on.
Ugh. I have a love/hate relationship with IVF. On the one hand it's "hey, there is a really high chance of successfully getting pregnant with IVF!" On the other hand its, "oh and it costs around $15k and there is no guarantee of success. Oh yeah and you have miscarriages sooo..."
We looked into IVF but barely. If we ever get pregnant again it'll pretty much have to be through IVF. In theory IVF would be a sure thing for us because it would bypass all of my known reproductive issues. At the time though we didn't know why I miscarried and the idea of throwing so much money at something with no guarantee sounded like a really foolish plan.
Since then we've learned why I miscarry and have been treating the problem (It's amazing how much better I feel). Again, in theory IVF would be pretty much a sure thing for us but the timing isn't right and we can't wrap our heads and hearts around using that money on a hope with no guarantee.
It might surprise some people that this was/is a very serious consideration of ours. How a gestational carrier works is they take my egg, Daniels...little guys, put them together, make a baby (embryo) and put it into a woman who would carry the baby for us. This was something we very seriously looked into and had a surprisingly spiritual experience with.
In the course of exploring this option we made a short list of friends we could ask who might be a carrier for us. We asked a couple we're close friends with. We knew they were taking a break from having kids and everything else with them was perfect for the situation. We asked, they prayed about it and the answer they got was that they shouldn't do it. I knew they were confused and felt a little bad. They wanted to help us! We totally understood and kept exploring options.
Shortly after they let us know they didn't feel right about it, I received my MTHFR diagnosis. I had been downing Folic Acid like it was going out of style, trying to decrease my chances of miscarriage when in fact it was poisoning me and pretty much ensuring any babies conceived wouldn't survive. Had this friend and her husband said yes, had we gone forward, she almost certainly would have miscarried our baby. That experience would have devastated all of us and I would have felt guilty for the rest of my life for putting my friend through that. Thank goodness for answered prayers and the beautiful people who follow them.
Done, Done and Done
This was the option we leaned most heavily toward. We did a lot of soul searching, trying to decide if we were ready to let go of our dream of having kids. I don't know what else to really say. It's a weird thing to be 27 (at the time) and considering being done trying to have children. Our dream when we married was to have a bunch of kiddos, but now we were making peace with Aurelia being our only living child.
With being done came the discussion of having a hysterectomy (TMI?). Even weirder than considering being done is considering having a hysterectomy. It would (should?) solve my endometriosis issues though and if I'm not going to use it ever again then it makes sense to be rid of it. Still weird though.
Running under (and completely separate from) all of this was foster care. The week after Noah left we received a letter from the state saying in two weeks our file would be closed if we didn't make contact to complete our licensing. The previous summer we had completed all the training but when we adopted Noah we let it sit. Now we needed to finish the process or close it and start all over.
Foster care hasn't been about adoption for us which is why it wasn't really part of our decision making process. We knew we were going to do foster care. Our goal with foster care is to help put families back together, and to give kids a safe, loving home until that can happen. If that can't happen then we would love to adopt.
So while sifting through our options and making our decisions we went ahead and completed our licensing to become a foster family.
So right now here is where we are...
We're basically done. For now at least. We aren't trying to get pregnant. We aren't trying to adopt. We are foster parents to a beautiful little boy and we're focusing on continuing to heal ourselves and loving this little bonus kiddo. After our little guy's case wraps up we'll likely readdress whether or not we'll keep trying to add to our family and how.