Makeover

Friday, May 30, 2014

I just spent my lunch break trying on clothes at Nordstrom Rack and Target.  I was highly unsuccessful and came away only with two new sports bras - a pretty safe buy when everything else you try on looks completely wrong on you (I couldn't leave completely empty handed could I?)  I think I've finally realized that the reason my dressing room adventures are always so unproductive is because they are terribly misguided.  I am still dressing for my pre-baby body, and even if I am buying clothes in a different size, they aren't quite looking right.

What I need is a make-over.  Seriously.  I think this could help get me out of my slump.  Only, I am not sure where to begin.  I vaguely remember reading somewhere that I should be wearing empire waist clothing and wrap around shirts and dresses....but whenever I try on those styles, I look really really mom-ish.  If only Stacy and Clinton could show up (without a television crew) and help me figure it out (and give me some shopping spree cash to match).  I also really don't know where to shop.  I only ever go to the two stores mentioned above.  There has gotta be something else!

Look - I see women of all different sizes who look terrific and always (always) much more put together than me.  Where on earth are they all shopping? Today I am wearing a gap mini skirt with a women's Giants t-shirt - and I'm not just wearing that because I can be casual.   I am wearing that because I honestly think it is the cutest summer outfit I own.  I need some help.  Please - dear reader friends - where does a mom who doesn't want to look so "momish" go to shop these days?  I definitely need some help.

Unpacking

Monday, May 26, 2014

I finally just unpacked my bag from Georgia yesterday. It was a really big bag. I had already unpacked most of my own stuff when I got home but was happy yesterday to uncover some clothes that I had forgotten about (and had been looking for these past weeks - like a moron!) Most of the suitcase was filled with stuff for the baby - cute little pink and purple onesies, a frilly little baby dress, tons of soft swaddle blankets, cloth diapers and teeny tiny socks. I unpacked slowly, and over time, not wanting to feel the full weight of the disappointment all at once. 

Emotionally unpacking this experience is something I really didn't want to have to do. It's something that I still don't really want to do.  I want to bundle it all up in a bag and forget about it.  I want to leave it on the bedroom floor, like I left my suitcase, and just pile other stuff on top of it.  I want to forget what is in the bag and maybe even pretend it didn't happen - because there is just too much to unpack and it is too intertwined with the much more crushing loss of Maxie. If he hadn't died, I really don't think this experience would have happened at all.  And packing up baby stuff - looking for places to put it all - and wondering, with a heavy heart, whether it will ever be used, is all too familiar.  Much different - but still familiar.

When I got home, several people offered to put me in touch with their friends who could talk to me about their failed adoption experiences. A few people told me that they knew it was "like a death" - words that stung to hear.  Not bringing home this baby was not like a death.  The death of a child doesn't only mean an end to the fantasies that the parents had for their child but it also (and much more horrifically) means the end of that child's life. The little girl I fell in love with in Georgia still lives - she has people who love her, an older sibling, a bunch of experiences waiting for her in the future. Do I wish she was mine?  Yes!  Totally.  Am I completely turned upside down by having to leave her there?  For sure.  But, all this really is is the end of a certain dream of mine. It doesn't even compare to having to know that Max will never have dreams of his own - but I'm still sad.

I have finally unpacked the contents of that suitcase but I need to leave almost all of the emotional stuff packed up.  There are so many layers of hurt and I just haven't gotten to the point yet where I can look at it at all without becoming completely unglued....and unglued was exactly how I felt on my last day there. It was awful and I am scared to let myself go there again. I've definitely learned by now that all wounds, great and small, take time to heal.  I guess I will have to postpone the healing with this one (and so many others that have come over the last few years) because I am still working on trying to heal (as much as possible) the heartbreak of Max dying.  I do know that leaving Georgia without that baby girl opened up the Maxie wound.  When I have allowed it to surface, even momentarily, it hasn't been pretty.

I have no reason to be posting the photo below except that my grandma used to always tell us grandkids that we were her best medicine.  I never really thought about the meaning.  I just thought it was one of those grandmotherly things to say.  But, just look at this kid!  It pretty hard to stay sad with this guy around. 

Mosie - he really IS my best medicine.



Uplifting

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I woke up in the worst mood - sad, defeated and depressed. But then we went here:







A drive up Route 2, a nature walk with my boys and then lunch at a forested biker bar really cleared my mind. Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Sleeping in

Friday, May 23, 2014

I was on my college swim team: Go Sagehens! (or as my mom once said when reading my parka wrong "Go Saga Hens!").  In the height of our season, we had two practices a day and at least twice a week, I had to be at the pool by 5 am, which meant I was up by about 4:30.  It was tough on my 18-21 year old partygirl soul. I stopped swimming in my senior year just so I could sleep in a little longer.

I lived on a kibbutz in Israel - 3 different times. Wake up time on a kibbutz is brutal. We often met in the banana fields at 5 am. I would be done with my work every day after lunch, around 2 pm, and then I'd come back to my room and sleep until dinner. 

Early mornings are not for me.  With the exception of those two experiences, I've never been an early riser. If I know I have to get up early, I cannot stay up late, even though it's my favorite thing to do. I love sleeping and have even often fantasized of coming back in my next life as a bear. Oh how glorious it would be to sleep through the winter! 

Both of my babies were sleeping through the night pretty young. I've learned since having children that THAT is what is important to people who ask. "Is he sleeping through the night yet?" They start asking that when your baby is about one week old. To me, the sleeping through the night has never been as important to me as whether they go back to sleep after waking and how late we can keep pushing our actual "get out of bed" time each morning.  Mo used to wake up at 4 am, play a little, go back to sleep at 5 and then sleep in until 8. I'm happy to play at 4 am if I get to go back to sleep until 8. In fact, in the really early days, I could keeping pushing our mornings out until 11am. After a year of sleeping all day, every day, I needed to transition back to a parent's schedule slowly. 

But for the last year or more, there's been another routine. 

Mo goes to sleep by 7:45 or so and sleeps until 5 am. Five is REALLY early. There is no way I am leaping out of bed at that hour and starting to play - especially because I know he's not going back to sleep again until almost 1 pm.  So, I usually pull him into our bed and then try to cuddle (read: sleep) with him for as long as I can, then turn on the tv for him (and sleep) until he gets bored, and then finally give in to getting out of bed.

This last week, the routine has changed again. It's changed in a way that should be bringing me tremendous joy. He's been sleeping in!  Most days this week he slept until 7ish. Today he slept in until 7:30.  This should be a dream come true! Complete deliciousness! But instead - it scares me. I get up starting at around 5:30 and start worrying. I look at the monitor to see if I can detect movement. Eventually, I go to his room and put my hand on his chest. After I reassure myself that he is fine, I leave and am already worried again by the time I get back to our room. I go back as often as every fifteen minutes to make sure he is still alive. The sleeping-in is wasted on me and it's a bummer, because I want it so bad. 

I've been surprised about how far I've come. How I've made it through the last 22 months of Mo's life without losing my mind with fear. I'm still impressed. I imagined it being much more challenging. But a part of me is still filled with fear, still imagining the worst case scenario. I may never feel quite right.  I will probably never get to just lie there and soak in the extra hours in bed.  It's ok.  It's probably expected for someone whose been through what I have.....but - Oh, how I'd love to sleep in!  You feel me?

A special life

Monday, May 19, 2014

Yesterday we celebrated the life of my warm, interesting and special Aunt Sue.  She passed after a three year battle with cancer, leaving behind her two sweet sons, a lovely daughter in law and two grandchildren. My Auntie Susie and her husband Mike were such special people: major children of the sixties (friends with Jim Morrison), smart, curious and free spirited. I can remember them both always interacting with me like I had something important to say, even when I was really young. They treated kids with the utmost respect and always made us all feel very special. Sue was a poet and a book of her poetry was shared with everyone yesterday.  She was gifted with words.

Images Fade

Images fade and change
Like garments go out of style
They are elusive, bright
But full of air
As I reach out to touch the unreal
Halt the flow for a while
Stop the movement away from where
I am comfortable
Until comfort, too
Fades like a fad
And I am left waiting
For the cycle to begin again
To reach my favorite part
Where I can stop thinking
And listen with my heart

Susan Gale Jordan

Beach Day with my boys

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mother's Day this year was pretty perfect.  Just me and my boys enjoying the beach!  It doesn't get much better than that!!!




I know that Mother's Day can be a HUGE trigger for mother's who have lost children.  It definitely was for me for the last two years.  Somehow this year, it felt softer.  The fact is that I miss Maxie every single day - I didn't miss him more on Mother's Day....though I had been missing him more lately (if that is even possible).  I've decided not to overanalyze.  The point is that was nice - nice to be with Ted and Mo and nice to be appreciated as a mother.

The story of my life

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

There are times when I wish I could just leap forward in the story of my life to see how it ends- and not just the FINAL chapter, but all of the chapters that come between now and then.

When I was single, I think I would have enjoyed myself a whole lot more if someone could have just said to me - "Hey, the right guy is showing up at the end of your 32nd year, chill out".  I didn't really care when he was going to show up, I just wanted to know he would.

Today, I want to KNOW if we will ever have another child - I don't need to know the details: whether it is a girl or a boy, adopted or biological - I just want to know if it happens.  I feel like it could save me a lot of grief.  I am 40 years old - how much more effort am I going to put into this pursuit?  Also, failed adoption and fertility treatments aren't free.  They cost just as much as the successful ones do.  We aren't exactly swimming in cash over here.

And, of course, EVERY SINGLE DAY, I wish I could just know whether Max was waiting for me somewhere.  If I KNEW he would be there at the end of this crazy life of mine, I think I could handle all of the ups and downs a whole lot better.  I fantasize daily about our reunion - being able to hold him and kiss him again.  Anything less than that is nothing.

I keep hoping an awesome patch is up ahead - filled with happiness and success.  I feel like I keep trying to move forward and be all strong and set goals for our family that will heal us and make us stronger and that everything I do just makes things worse. I think the time is coming to just put it all to rest.  I really, really don't want to be a victim but I keep setting myself up for failure.  What will be will be.  No reason to think I can change this story at all.  But what I wouldn't give for just a teeny tiny peak at the end.


Besheret

Monday, May 12, 2014

My gut was telling me from the very beginning of the failed adoption story that there would be no adoption.  Ted's too.  We had many conversations before my leaving for Georgia about the possibility that this family wasn't actually going to place this child for adoption.  But, having had no experience in this whatsoever, we just trusted the guidance we were given.  Regrettable.

I can't blame it all on bad advice however, there was something else that was telling us that everything would all work out.  Not just someTHING else but a whole slew of someTHINGS.  Like the universe had aligned to send us message after message that this baby would be ours.

About a year ago, I had a reading with Moriah (the medium).  She made some predictions that sounded fairly far-fetched at the time.  She told me that my grandfather predicted that I would be visiting Israel at some point during the year - this seemed highly unlikely to me last May, but my work did end up sending me to Israel in February.  She talked about my being among trees and getting some kind of healing from that experience - and as you know, I visited Maxie's Forest and it was peaceful (as much as it was also awful and painful).  She also predicted that we would adopt a baby about a year later.  We'd never really discussed our adoption plans with anyone other than very close friends and we had signed papers with an agency the day before.  She also then predicted some basic facts about the baby and about the lawyer we would use (someone who we didn't even meet until much later).  If it was a guess - it was a VERY good one. 

If you know us, or you've been reading for a while, you know that 27 is our lucky number (well, it's really Ted's lucky number but I've adopted it.  Mine is 7 - so it isn't a complete stretch.).  Ted's birthday is the 27th of December and Maxie was born on 10-7-10 (adding up to 27).  There were so many crazy 27s on this trip.  I wish I had photographed them all.  My mom and I changed hotels nearly every night and for two nights in a row, stayed in 27 rooms - 427 and 227!  We also waited the whole time we were there to eat at the town's "fanciest" restaurant, which also had a 27 in the address.  Small stuff - but signs nonetheless.



When a baby is born that is going to be placed for adoption, the birthmother can choose the name that goes on the birth certificate.  This name can be changed by the adoptive parents (and usually is) later in the process.  Imagine our surprise when we found out that the name given to the baby is also the name of one of our dogs....you may recall that naming babies after pets and pets after people is a favorite activity in our family (even if it isn't ever intentional).  Our dog has a pretty unusual name.  Call me crazy that upon learning that baby was given the same name, I believed it to be a sign.

Though the town we were in in Georgia was fairly diverse, I felt pretty confident that there was no real Jewish community to speak of there.  And diversity certainly does not mean integrated.  One of the nurses in the hospital was telling us that one of the nearby towns had just held it's first integrated prom!  WHAT?  I can't even imagine how a segregated prom has been legal anywhere in the US at all up until this point.  Sometimes I realize that living in Los Angeles is a different kind of sheltered.  There was one nurse who was incredibly helpful through the whole experience.  We really bonded with her (but - ALL of the nurses were wonderful - some of the nicest people I've ever met).  We were talking a little bit about the backwardness of the town we were in and so I asked where she was from.  "Tel Aviv", she answered.  I think my eyes nearly bugged out of my skull.  "Tel Aviv?", I asked.  "Do you speak Hebrew?", I asked - in Hebrew.  Her Hebrew sounded a little rusty (like I should talk) but indeed this woman was Israeli.  She was almost as surprised to meet us as we were to meet her.  It felt like another sign. 

As all of these signs were showing up, I was sending them to Ted.  He was getting excited: "Done deal!", he'd write back.  And it really felt like it was - like, despite all of the drama and nonsense and all of the cues we were given by the family to the contrary - that we'd end up with this little girl.  Our nurse friend seemed to think so too - she kept encouraging us to give this baby all of our love - which we did.  As her shift ended, she gave my mom and I big hugs and said, "Hang in there - this is Besheret (destiny)!"






TO MY MOM

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day to my mother.  Not sure what the hell I would have done without her in Georgia last week.  Despite the emotional rollercoaster, we sure had a lot of laughs!  I think we are going to look back and remember those moments more than the much harder ones.  I love you mom.  I look forward to our next "road trip"!!!!  Next time, let's pick someplace with a beach.










Distance

Friday, May 9, 2014

I am bracing myself, just getting through each day as best as possible. I have enough experience with pain to know that even the sharpest pain numbs a little over time. I know this pain will fade. At some point, this experience will just be that - an experience. I can't imagine any pain can ever permanently imprint on me again.

Still, today, right now, I feel like crawling into a hole and staying there for a few months. I feel incredibly vulnerable and actually kind of stupid. My desperate desire for another baby must be written all over my face. I really had no tools on this trip to help me cope with the situation. The only tool I had was my gut, telling me that this baby might not be ours, but everyone kept telling me otherwise and so I trusted them. I guess I just wanted her too much. One thing I'm glad about is that I waited so long to give her my heart. I also never thought she was mine. I fantasized about her becoming mine but I never really let myself think of her that way. I think that will help me move on quicker. Still, if they called me today to come get her, I'd be on the next plane. 

Time will help. Each passing day is like a painkiller for my soul. Give me a few weeks - I'll be fine.

Differently

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I keep going over my experience in Georgia - over and over. It's like my brain is stuck on a loop. I keep wondering if there was something I could have done differently. Since Ted wasn't there - I know he wonders that too. I feel like I let him down - and that really kills me.  I was given a lot of advice about trying to connect to the birthmom, something I had really hoped to do. I really wanted us to know each other and for her to trust me.  I felt connected to her immediately because she was carrying the child that I believed would be mine....and because although my experience of loss was much different than what hers would be - I still know what it is like to be separated from your own child forever.  In fact, because of my experience of losing Max, I think I was particularly sympathetic to her potential loss. I vowed that I would have her in our life moving forward as much or as little as she desired.

Before leaving for Georgia, I tried calling and texting nearly every day but my calls and texts were mostly left unanswered. I put myself in her shoes and thought, "maybe she just wants this over with. Maybe she doesn't want to know the woman who is going to take her child away from her." I could fully understand that too - I didn't want to push it.

We met for the first time in the hospital. I saw her and thought "This is the most courageous and selfless woman. She is a complete angel to us even though all she feels right now is dread and discomfort." I've given birth twice. The hours leading up to birth are agonizing. They are scary and uncomfortable. I told her that I knew how hard these last excruciating hours were from a physical standpoint. She mostly ignored me. I didn't blame her. Truly. The last thing on earth I'd want to do before giving birth is make a new friend. 

Her mother said in the comment she left on my post the other day that she never liked or trusted me. As far as liking me - what can I say? I was just being myself and if she didn't like me, that's ok. As far as trusting me - I'm not sure what there was not to trust. If she was distrustful because she thought I flew all the way to Atlanta and then drove another two hours with my mother so that we could come get her baby - she was right. But I was always aware of her feelings. I was always careful not to push myself on her. I'm not sure what kind of bad intentions I could have possibly had. My only intention was to bring home a baby for Ted, Mo and our families to love.  She told me she wanted to give her baby a better life - I wanted that too. Trust me.

It was an emotional rollercoaster as the family kept changing their mind, sometimes several times a day, for five days. I was missing Mo a lot and frankly, the experience was full of triggers - delivery rooms, newborn babies, hospitals, happy families, jaundiced baby and then eventually leaving a hospital with no baby and an empty car seat. 

My mom (and later Ted) kept reminding me that this baby lives - it isn't the same as Max. And it is isn't. It doesn't come close. But without having been there himself, I know Ted wonders what I could have done differently. I know this is devastating for him - because he told me and because it is for me too.  The future seemed so full of promise and even though everyone keeps telling me to let the dust settle - I just don't see where to go from here. We'd have to start saving again if we wanted to continue pursuing adoption and then again there would be no guarantees that this wouldn't happen again. I don't know how I could go through this again honestly. I feel shaken to the core - completely exposed and raw.  I can't imagine the circumstances that would put me at ease.  The uncertainty of the whole experience and then having to leave that sweet baby girl behind was just too hard.

I guess I just need to put the whole pursuit on hold for a while. I already have the very best kid I could ever ask for. If he is all we ever have - then he is all we will ever need. 


A new day

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Waking up this morning, pulling Mo into bed with us to watch Sesame Street - I feel much better. It just wasn't meant to be, but I am happy we took the risk. That baby girl would have been totally worth it. And though I'm still sad that it didn't work out - it's ok.  I really feel like I did everything I could to make it happen. I had and have the deepest empathy for this birthmother. I could tell from the moment we arrived that she was unsure about placing her child for adoption.  Yesterday her mother said on my blog that it was because she didn't like me - and that's ok. Who would want to give their child to someone they didn't like?  I'm an adult and I realize not everyone is going to like me. But, I did my best and remained truthful every step of the way - expressing my feelings of love for that child and the vulnerability I have having lost a child. It seems that baby was meant to stay with her mamma and Ted and I are meant to grow our family in a different way - or not.  Yesterday was hard. I'd been up all night for two nights with a newborn, which every parent knows can take a toll (even though I loved it - I really did - she is so sweet). I was emotional and so disappointed and sad. But this morning I feel ready to move forward. Hanging with Mo and and Ted lifts my heart. 

I have to thank my parents so much for being so supportive. My dad really believed in this experience and helped us make it happen. He was one of my biggest cheerleaders.  My mom was a total trooper - coming to Georgia, staying in a different hotel every night, eating boatloads of fried comfort food with me, and going through all of the ups and downs. She loved that baby right away too and I know she feels a loss like I do. I couldn't have done that week without her. I'm so grateful she was there. Ted and his family were also there with us emotionally every step of the way. Everyone was so excited about the idea of this special little girl joining our family. I'm so lucky to have such a supportive family. Thank you all for your unconditional support and love! 

Baby girl

Monday, May 5, 2014

My mom and I have been pretending to be on a "fun" road trip all week. The truth is that we've been in hell. We came to Georgia to adopt a baby. Ted and I have been working towards adoption for about a year now. We were so excited when we got the call that a couple in Georgia were placing a baby for adoption that was due in less than two weeks. In fact, we were over the moon! We pulled out all of the baby stuff - the co-sleeper, the swing, the newborn clothes. We didn't know if it would be a boy or a girl - and we didn't care. We wanted this baby so bad!

My mom and I flew to Atlanta the day before the scheduled C section. I brought a bassinet and a car seat/stroller and a suitcase full of gear and clothes. We spent hours with the birthmother and her family before her surgery. Something never felt quite right but I kept getting reassurance that they wanted to do what was best for the baby. 

After the baby girl was born, we ran into the hallway and took her photos. She was beautiful! We loved her immediately. We ran to the nursery and took more photos and sent them of to Teddy and everyone else.  Something still didn't feel quite right. The nurses kept asking the birthmother about her adoption plans and she wouldn't answer.

For days, we'd hear from the birthmothers family that nothing had changed - the adoption was still on. The hospital offered to let us stay on the post partum floor with the baby, but I was too scared to get attached. 

Finally on Saturday, the birthmother left the hospital without her baby girl and we moved in. I tried to keep a distance - but she was so sweet. She needed love. She'd been ignored by everyone but nurses for days. Birthmother promised to sign papers for the adoption with a social worker on Sunday morning, so I let myself love her. I cuddled her throughout the night and fed her and diapered her. I imagined bringing her home and sending out an email announcing her birth. 

On Sunday morning, the birthmother told the social worker she wasn't in the mood to see anyone. I began to panic again. I gave the baby back to the nursery and tried to detach. But her little face was already imprinted on my heart. It was too late. We slept there again with baby girl last night and I really gave her my heart. 

In Georgia, a birthmother has 30 days after signing papers to change her mind unless she waives her right to those thirty days. I heard this morning that she wouldn't sign that form. I really panicked this time. I couldn't do this for another thirty days. The social worker assured me that she didn't think they'd change their mind. They didn't want this baby - something everyone told us all along. But, not signing that form was a sign to me. This adoption wasn't going to happen. 

15 minutes later, the social worker called from the hospital parking lot to tell me that the birthmother had changed her mind. That call was followed by one from my lawyer, who told me to come on home.

So, here we are - my mom and I - on a Southwest flight back to California. No baby. Heartbroken. Unclear where I've gone wrong. Not sure how much more I can really take in this life. I can't stop thinking about that baby girl and all we wanted to give her. We loved her already. We love her right now. It's NOTHING compared to losing Max - but it sure does hurt.



Home

Sunday, May 4, 2014

There are things in this life that are so hard, you wonder how you will ever make it through. I am going through one of those now. I am being used and manipulated and my feelings have been completely disregarded. I feel sick and sad and more than anything - I wish I was sitting at home with Ted and Maxie and Mo. And I keep thinking that if I can wait just a little while longer - it will be worth it. But the other part of me says - trust nobody!!! You are a sucker if you do!  I'm missing Maxie like crazy today. There is an empty hole in my heart today that is screaming his name. Screaming! I just want to go home. I just want to go home! 

Taking risks

Friday, May 2, 2014

My mom and I are in Georgia. We came here for a specific purpose. Coming here has been a gigantic leap of faith and I am wondering if leaving Mo to fly across the country will end up being worth it. I am still 100% uncertain. Sometimes you have to trust in a process that is in no way guaranteed, because on the off chance that it works out, you know life could take a turn for the better. I don't know. I hate feeling so uncertain. I hate not knowing what lies ahead. I feel sort of stupid taking big chances.  I am told that the best things in life do come with the biggest risk. I hope this will end up being one of those things.



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