Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Waiting Game

I have a friend who also has a blog, and lately she’s been sharing about her struggle with infertility. Reading her blog has tugged at my heart and really gotten me thinking. As different as our situations are, we share many of the same feelings. She said that she has “defective ovaries.” I don’t have defective ovaries…I guess you could say that Joe and I have defective genes. As I’ve mentioned before, the type of EB that Ella has is a recessive gene, which means there’s a 25% chance that another child will have EB. A lot of families have taken the risk. We won’t. I know too many families that have taken the chance and have multiple kids with EB. It’s not worth it to us.

In some ways I feel like we have it easier than those who face infertility. I don’t have to wake up every morning and take my temperature. I don’t have to monitor my cycle and anxiously await each “time of the month.” I don’t have to go to the doctor month after month and have my body analyzed to determine what is wrong and what new medicines may help. I don’t have to take pills or get shots. However, since there isn’t anything “wrong” with me and my body, it’s almost like having another child is always right in front of us, yet we can’t reach it. It’s right there, tempting us, ticking our noses…but we know in our hearts that we can’t do it. If we purposefully got pregnant and brought another kid into the world that had EB, I don’t know that I could forgive myself. It’s not fair to make another child go through what Ella has to go through.

The question I get more than anything else is whether or not we’re going to have more kids. We want to. Joe and I have always wanted a big family, so we want to have more kids. I want it for us, and I want it for Ella. I see how other kids with EB really lean on their siblings for support. The siblings are their best friends because they are the only ones who really know what the EB kid goes through. And in talking to some friends of mine who are only children, they strongly encourage us to have more kids. Each of them has their own reasons behind wanting a sibling, but they all agree that it’s important. I cherish my relationship with my brother, and I know Joe would say the same thing about each of his siblings. There’s something special about having someone who grew up in your house with your parents and who knows what it’s like to be in your family. The issue we face is how. What means should we use to expand our family? This is something Joe and I have been prayerfully exploring since Ella’s birth, and at this point God hasn’t given us a clear direction to pursue.

I think for those who haven’t walked in our shoes, it’s easy to make suggestions. “Why don’t you get artificially inseminated? How about donor eggs? 25% isn’t that high…you will probably have an EB-free kid. Are you against adopting?” (I love how the adoption question automatically assumes that we have something against adopting instead of asking if we’ve explored adoption as a possibility) The reality is that it’s just not that easy…at least not for us. There are pros and cons to every avenue, and in the end, we need God to give us clear direction on which option is the best for us. Not what others would do or what has been the right decision for them, but what is the best for Joe, Katie and Ella.

A few weeks ago I went to a baby shower. There were 15 women there. 6 were pregnant and 2 had just had babies in the last couple of months. In one week I had 4 facebook friends announce that they were pregnant. Every time I go to the store (regular stores like Target and Safeway) I feel like I pass 2 dozen pregnant women. And don’t even get me started on all the pregnant women at church. For the most part I don’t have difficulty attending baby showers and I don’t get upset when people announce that they’re pregnant (for the most part I’m ok…sometimes I hear their good news and I completely lose it). I’m genuinely happy for people who are having a baby. I like holding new babies and I’m happy for people who are able to have healthy babies with no problems. That said, being in our life situation in the midst of a baby boom isn’t easy. I want to have another baby. I want Ella to be a big sister. I want to pull all of her old baby things out of the attic and put them to good use. I want to move all of the furniture out of Joe’s office (sorry Joe) and create another baby room. I am ready for that…I am ready to get started now…I am ready for another Murray to enter this world. However, right now, it seems that God isn’t ready. He has us waiting.

Sometimes, I think that God is waiting on us…He wants us to make the first move, then he’ll take it from there. In the past when we’ve played the waiting game, Joe and I have adopted the attitude that we’ll just start walking and wait for God to close the door. If it’s right, then He’ll keep the path clear. If it’s not, then he’ll steer us in another direction. Maybe that’s where we are right now…maybe God is waiting on us to make the first move. Regardless of when we are shown our next steps, or whether or not we make the decision to just start moving, I know that God will show us what is right in HIS time. For right now, we wait.


Sara said...

I think people who tells someone to look into adoption has never looked into it themselves. It is not as easy as people think it is. For as many kids out there who need homes its insane how much paper work there is and how much they have to dig into your life (current and past)to even be deemed ok to adopt! Honestly if all the paperwork and info that is required for adoption was required to have a baby of your own, people would never have kids!

Amy said...

Katie, thank you so much for this post. I have been thinking about you a lot recently because of some of your FaceBook posts about all the pregnant women you know. I didn't quite understand your comments until I did some research on EB. I did not realize that EB was genetic. Now, I understand. I do not pretend to know an ounce of your pain, but I feel sorrow for your sorrow. We all have trials in our life and I can only imagine how devastating this trial is for you and your family. Thank you so much for reminding me that our lives are in God's hands and we need to trust in Him. Just know that you are in my prayers!

boltefamily said...

I get it. We too have defective genes. Not only are we dealing with EB genes, but ALSO with some type of fatal brain abnormality gene. I would love another baby, but after losing two I am just not able to go there again. I am praying that despite the immense cost, that the door to adoption will open to us one day.

Praying for you on your journey. Praying for clear answers and babies in your future! :)

Megan said...

Katie, after reading your post (and I usually never have the time to respond in a lengthy comment) I felt compelled to respond to this one. I have to be honest with you that Ray and I are too in a baby boom cross roads again dealing with the same jealously, wonder, doubt, hope - sorrow etc again.
I know our hearts and minds are more healed than the last time we stood at this point in our journey for parenthood. But it does bring so much up to the surface again to deal with.
Since my story is that of an adoptive mom, all I can do is share my thoughts and story with you. But I am not trying to "tell" you and Joe to adopt ---- I think that decision is solely between you two and God. What I can do is share my story and hopefully enlighten you to a positive side of adoption through our story. There is power and love like no other that God can bring into your family through an adoption.
I can tell you after a 5 year battle with infertility, we were emotionally drained and spiritually crushed when we hit our stopping point. We pushed our family and friends away creating an isolated island of just the two of us - because we had to carve out a safe space away from all the "pregnant - normal" people -- There really was nothing wrong with them and their happiness but it was too much to take moment after moment after moment. And the mentally distructive thoughts we would beat ourselves up with every time someone announced they were pregnant - was just unhealthy. So we created that safe space for just the two of us to work things out on our own. We went through complete spiritual abandonment (which SUCKS by the way and was one of the most painful experiences of my life because we both were deeply rooted in our living faith) We also lost our direction/purpose of life. It was a LONG journey. Ray had come out of the "darkness" earlier than I had (still struggling with his faith) he seemed at least to find a purpose for his life again - and about moving forward with what he wanted - it was to raise a child with all the love and wisdom he had to give in this life. It took me another good year to even think about adoption as a possibility for our family. I supported adoptions. I had been surrounded by several joyful experiences with in my friends. But as I watched my family members and close friends experience the joy of pregnancy and genetic commonalities I couldn't get over that pain and wondering if a child who was not made of my DNA could ever love me as much as one who was. OR if my own family could EVER love MY child as much as they love the ones genetically linked to our family. It sounds silly to think that - but it is a real FEAR to overcome. (You can ask your mother as I am sure she could tell you how VERY different reality is - as I am sure my parents talk a LOT to your parents.)

Megan said...


The summer of 2007 as I was making a baby blanket for your sweet baby to come, I had put all of my love and attention into this blanket. My FIRST baby blanket I had ever made. It was to be made special since it was going to cradle the first grandchild for the Alexanders. A moment that had be anticipated for so very many years. I had put my pain aside to focus solely on an incredible miracle that was to come. And when your sweet, sweet baby girl was born and desperately fighting for her life with devastated and confused new parents and grandparents and community surrounding her in prayer………. My heart broke down on a whole new level of spiritual understanding. I prayed and prayed for a miracle for you, Joe, and Ella. Then once again I prayed for understanding. It is interesting to think back to exactly what I prayed for - or any of us prayed for her. I think we didn't know quite what God's intensions were. I prayed simply for her life to be saved.
Why I tell you all of this is because what I LEARNED ---- is that I had no idea that what I was really praying for through this miracle of life -- It was actually the chance to experience though learning and growing from the lessons of love this little life would bring to mine and others around her that was "un-normal". THAT is what makes JoElla, you and Joe so very special. Through her life - YOUR life experience - you will learn from one another and receive love in a way that is NEW for you. This love comes from SO many different places too - not just from Ella and close friends and family but from total strangers as they continue to bless your lives over and over again. You and Joe have the incredible call to do the same for others, because God delivered suffering into your life so you may know a joy like no other. It is unique in so many ways and your pilgrimage is to share the experience with others and touch and love as many lives through this experience as you can. You also live for each day and never take her life for granted because each day you have with her is a precious gift from God. (It is a similar experience through adoption)
That fall, Ray and I had one discussion in which we poured our hearts out once more, talking about what was the future of our family. We decided we needed a miracle, and needed one in which there was security in getting one. All the fears that I had about an adopted child seemed superfluous in comparison - I had been humbled by others. I knew I had an incredible capacity to love a child and it was time for that child to enter our life - although we had no idea who that child would be. We went in for the adoption.

Megan said...

cont -- again

I can't begin to tell you what a relief it was to be surrounded by others who shared our same thoughts, pain, hope, struggles and desires. (this has to be as similar as to when you and Joe connected with the other EB parents) We didn't feel alone anymore. We didn't have to feel as if no one understood our pain and needs.

After we got through the preparation work for the adoption - which wasn't really that much red tape in the big picture, we felt such peace in knowing that God would bring a child to us when the time was right - and he took away all of that fear and pain because we knew that He was guiding our journey to our first child. The money we spent was less than what most people paid for in daycare for an infant annually…… we are by no means swimming in money, but we are not gambling people. And so we entrusted our savings into a "sure thing." Adoption did not pose the risks the same as soaking it into fertility treatments and come out empty handed and more devastated. We were able to have the opportunity to choose what issues we were able to handle for our child to come. It was all about finding the perfect match at that point. We were on the path to becoming parents. As they all say, it was the first time in my life I "Let Go and Let God."
Some people fear birth family's being involved, another area I would like to address. Can I just say EVERY situation is different. But if you are LUCKY there may be an opportunity there that brings a whole other family dynamic to your family that is incredible and wonderful for all of you. An adopted child should feel open and confident about who they are and where they came from - their story into your life is just as incredible of an experience as a birth in the hospital or pregnancy with a biological child. Don't fear this. It is an incredible opportunity to love unconditionally in a circle of people who would have never touched your life had it not been for their decision to do what was best for their unborn child.
We have contact with our son's birth mother in a friendly way - she comes to big events of his, we go to dinner whenever we get the urge to call each other - we Facebook, I send text pictures and texts about new things he is learning etc. We also just recently met her grandparents and see them around special occasions. The birth father gets pictures but we do have similar contact with his parents - the same as the birth mother's grandparents. We call them all by their first names ----- Our son will know the role's of who is who but will call them by their first name as they are not the "role's of his family" but they are special people in his life who care and share a love for him along with his family. And the JOY from all of these people connected genetically to him -- I can't express the tears of joy they have when they get to see how he is growing and how much he is loved by our family - HIS family. They are truly humbled that we would want them to play a role in his life. We think it only will help our son feel secure and confident about himself and who he is. Our story has its own unique attributes but I want to be clear that there is no confusion and we will continue to raise him with this amazing understanding about what it means to be family - from both sides of the adoption world. He will be wise beyond his years at a very early age and the greatest gift he will know how to share is this amazing ability to love unconditionally and accept others for the gifts they are in this world.

Megan said...

one more time - cont....

Ella has already taught us the same things. Her story / Your story is the reason our son was named Alexander. He has taught us how to stand up,protect and defend mankind - he has brought our world HOPE for the future. He was our miracle child. He has taught such incredible life lessons to others and shared unconditional love to those who never knew they could feel that. He is special to us for those things and just like Ella - we thank God EVERY day for bringing him into our lives.
There are days we think he is enough for us. But we do find that siblings are incredibly important. So as we pray and search for our answers - I will pray for God to reveal His answer to you and Joe too. Ella would make a wonderful sister from what I know of her. I think that having a sibling would be a good balance for your family as well! ( aka everything you stated in your own blog) I put this out there with humble and hopeful intensions from my heart - It is a gamble when you think of creating another bioligical baby, but it is not a 100% guarantee that you would have another EB child. However……. Know that the gambling is off the table and that adoption may relieve your stress if that is a route you choose to go. We have lived that and let me tell you what a relief it was to not have that stress and burden of disappointment and regret looming over us --- that was our situation. We received a miracle 10 fold into our lives when Alexander was placed into our world. I would have it no other way! God will lead you two to the right decision. You just have to ask yourselves, does God have more in store for us to teach others with? - the answer is yes. What you need to decide is ---- WHICH lessons are you preparing your life to teach others with. - Maybe it is both EB and Adoption……. Maybe? and it is unfair when others say judgemental things that make you sound as if you had already scoffed at adoption. we were asked that in a demeaning way as well. So just remember that you and I were brought up in homes that taught proper ways to communicate and the intension of others are good - sometimes they just don't know how to use their words as effectively.
Through our journey for Alexander we have come to learn many things that are worth fighting for and believing in. Alexander is DIRECTLY linked to Ella and we thank God every day for the lessons she taught us. God's blessings will reveal themselves if we hope for the TRUTH that he has given each of us within our hearts. We just have to believe he knows what he is doing.
We love you all dearly, and are here for you always if you ever need to chat!
Megan O'Connell

Katherine Klegin said...

Katie, I often think of you when I get to thinking about all this baby business. I remember when you told us y'all wouldn't try again because of the high chances of having another EB child. Each time I think about it, I think how unfair it is. I know how your are feeling, Katie. It's hard to see everyone continually announcing a pregnancy. In fact, that's the reason Shon and I stopped going to FBCA. It seemed like every week someone new was announcing a new baby.

I am trying so hard to be patient, but it definitely is starting to wear on me as I'm sure it does on you. I will pray that God will help y'all make the right decisions.

We REALLY need to get together soon. Let's talk soon, Katie. :)

Anonymous said...

It sounds insensitive, but people are always going to be having babies everywhere you go. Just like everything else in life.