29 March 2014

The Downs of Pregnancy (Meds)

[TL:DR at bottom.] I didn't share this publicly before, but a few weeks after we found out we were pregnant, I had to go to the doctor because of spotting and cramping. It turned out my progesterone was low - probably because I ovulated so early, my doc surmised.

The typical schedule is to take them for the first trimester, then wean your body off them gradually around 16 weeks. I noticed, about that time, some strange symptoms not normal to me for pregnancy: I lost my hunger cues (I could go for 6 or more hours without eating, feeling hungry, getting nauseated, or any of my normal cues), and I started wanting to cry about nothing. Now, I'm an easy crier, but I always cry for a reason (good or bad). It's not normal for me to feel like I'm about to cry all day for no reason.

After doing some research, it turns out excess progesterone can do that - if our bodies make too much, they can break it down and turn it into other hormones, but our bodies can't do it with synthetic. Realizing that was actually happy for me, since it meant (so I thought) that my body had started making enough, and the meds were putting me over the top.

Early this week, I started having a TON of Braxton-Hicks (BH) contractions. I knew they weren't labor contractions, but going from having one every so often (like when I go from standing to squatting), to every few minutes no matter how much I drank or slept, in the matter of two days, was a little concerning. Or could have been, I don't know. That's what doctors are for, amiright?

So I had an appointment that confirmed, no, the contractions aren't premature labor, but that my progesterone was low again. She prescribed half the previous dose and to come in again in 4 weeks to check my levels.

This all sounds pretty mundane and not worth writing about, but I'm really sad. Being chemically depressed is the opposite of my personality (which probably just means I enjoy being a little volatile), and I don't want to experience it more. And I certainly don't want to for the next few months, since I doubt this placenta is going to get the memo now if it hasn't already (that's an emotional guess, not based in any facts). I don't want to not enjoy things and forget to take care of myself. And I don't want my chemicals being messed up because it affects this little guy too; too-low progesterone and it can trigger labor, and the changes in hormones involved with depression during pregnancy also have proven effects on babies.

We'll see how the next few weeks go. The TL:DR is I'm not both sad and whiny.

06 March 2014

BIG Not-Yet-News

I'm not sure how to write this because I don't really know what to write. We received a call on Friday that may prove very significant to our family. Let me go back to November. Scroll to the end if you want the TL:DR version.

You may remember we started out on the wait list with Generations (Uganda) at number 18 in October 2012. By the end of that December, we were down to #13. The spring of 2013 was very difficult, and we ended the semester at #12. Since we didn't decide to adopt so we could sit for months - or years - on a waiting list, we started pursuing other options.

When we got pregnant in November, we told both agencies we were working with (Uganda and the DRC). It changed nothing about the DRC, since there's no progress in adoptions from there right now anyway. With Uganda, we were told that we'd be put on hold on the list until our new little boy is 6 months old. We wouldn't lose our spot, but we can't accept a referral.

In the meantime, Generations started partnering with an orphanage who cares specifically for children with a medical special need. This special need often carries a stigma beyond its severity. Many adoptive parents-to-be aren't willing to consider adopting children with it, but we are.

So we got a call on Friday from our Uganda program director asking if we'd consider accepting a referral before this little one is born. In fact, we could receive a referral in the next week or two and travel before this kiddo is born!

Naturally, there are a LOT of things to consider and weigh about this decision:

* Family: What is best for our kids (including our to-be-adopted kid)? Will it be more stressful on our family to add a child to our family, and have a baby a month later; or to have a baby and a preschooler and then bring home an adopted child? Where and when will we need (and be able to receive) more help?

* Finances: We still need $6,000-$7,000 more to complete our adoption (including travel and finalization back here in the States). I still have 2 more grants I can apply for, but we haven't received a single grant so far, so I have no confidence that we won't have to scrounge/raise the entire sum. Stephen needs time to raise at least $700 in monthly recurring support, or we may not get full paychecks in the fall, which is a big deal to a family of 5 with a new baby and a child with medical needs.

*** Calling: This one gets three stars because it's the most important. Is God calling us to adopt the child that will be referred to us? We don't know yet. I have absolute confidence that God will enable us to adopt him/her if that is his will. Neither of us has received clarity either way, so we would really appreciate your prayers at this time.

TL:DR Version: we could be accepting the referral of a child in the next week or two and traveling to Uganda this summer (yes, with me weeks away from giving birth). Please pray for us to know God's will.

03 March 2014

Adoption Update

Many (most, probably!) of you were at our Fellowship Church Women's Retreat last month, and heard me talk about our adoption. Some of you have said you would pray for little H, and for that I am profoundly grateful.

I've received word from the agency we received H's referral from, and they are no longer working in the DRC. They have not officially closed the program, but they no longer employ anyone in the country and are actively recruiting those who have accepted Congolese referrals to programs in other countries.

The TL:DR is outlook is not good. As in it would take miracle upon miracle upon miracle for us to be able to adopt H. And I just don't think that is going to happen.

For those of you who aren't well-versed in how international adoption works, there is no way we can adopt H without this agency's help (unless somehow another agency were to partner with her orphanage, and we happened to find out without anyone telling us, because how would a separate agency know we had been trying to adopt her? Our names are nowhere in the DRC). If the DRC still allowed independent adoptions (so lawyer-based, not agency-based), we probably could. But they do not.

Truth is, the Lord has been preparing my heart for this for a long time. I am not okay with this situation AT ALL, but I have peace that comes from knowing that God loves H immensely and is capable of caring for her when I cannot.

Only time will tell what God has planned for our adoption, but I still have hope. It has been refined nearly to extinguishing, but the Lord is gentle, and it is on the mend.

If you think about it, pray for H. She needs prayer support. I hope to one day meet her face-to-face and hear the fruit of our prayers. Let that day come, Father. Amen.

In related news, we filed our I-600A extension and request for another fingerprinting appointment. Fingerprints expire every 15 months? HOW does that make sense? The 16-weeks-gestated baby in my womb has fingerprints! DUMB. Dumb.