To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I follow a lot of blogs.  A LOT.  Not all are centered around parenting or infertility or adoption, actually; but many are.  And there are several that are so well written I cannot help but continue to read them, even when I know that they'll probably just make me sad, angry, or upset to the point that I'm bawling my eyes out mid-day in my office.

A Glimpse Inside: Our Journey Through Infertility  is one of those blogs that makes my heart ache.  The writer, simply called Wannabemom, relates her and her husband's battle to have a baby with such honesty and obvious sadness at times that I find myself unable to hold back the tears.

I've been there.  Far too many times, in fact.  Even though I know I'm not the only one (not by a long-shot) who is grappling with these horrible emotions and physical down-falls, it is always a morbid kind of comfort to hear someone else say, "Hey, I'm feeling that way too."

Wannabemom's latest blog post about grief and grieving throughout she and her husband's 30 (that's right, folks, THIRTY) failed medicated cycles of attempted pregnancy really hit me in the gut when I read it.  I know exactly what she's going through.  I can relate precisely to what she's saying.  I don't think anyone truly comprehends what it's like to go through the cycle of excitement, hopefulness, diligence, disappointment, pain, anger, and depression that inevitably occurs every 30 days - over and over and over again - in an infertile woman's life (unless, of course, they're another infertile woman).

As she says it much better than I do/am, I thought I'd just quote her post.  I hope she doesn't mind...

BFN #30


This is the 3oth month that we’ve failed, yet again, to make a baby.

I read somewhere, that the grief felt with infertility is akin to the grief felt when a sibling dies.  That was one of the most validating statements anyone has ever made to me.  Every month, I grieve.  But it’s not like losing a loved one.  Because eventually, there is an acceptance that the loved one is gone and life must continue with them only in our memories.  The intensity of the sadness gets better with time.  With infertility, it’s a loss of something I never got to know.  And then it’s time to get right back on the bike and ride again.  A new cycle, a new chance, and ultimately a new failure.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  And it seems as though each lost cycle is harder than the last.

I also think it’s different because infertility grief is invisible to most of the people who surround us.  When you lose a loved one, people know about it and they say things like “I’m so sorry for your loss”.  We send them cards and flowers and casseroles or whatever — the translation is: we see your grief and we’re sorry you have to feel this way.  It’s normal.  People die.  It’s a normal, lived experience.  People know how to respond (even if it’s awkward for most of us) when someone dies, because we comprehend it.  We understand it.  Most of us have experienced the death of someone.

People don’t know what to say about infertility…. if we’ve even bothered to share our journey at all.  So many couples don’t tell the people in their world what they are going through, so the grief is completely invisible.  I write this blog so the people closest to me can read and try to understand, but it still makes them uncomfortable and so they say nothing at all most times.  I don’t even think my husband truly understands the grief I feel each month.  Sure, he has his own grief but it’s different.

Elisabeth Kubler Ross developed the Five Stages of Grief model…. if you’ll allow me to get all social worky for a moment.  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.  I think I cycle through this every month.

Denial – This will be our month.  This time it will work.  Nope, those aren’t PMS symptoms, they are pregnancy symptoms.  That drop in temp?  That’s just an implantation dip… just a few days overdue.  That spotting?  Well it can’t possibly be my period.  Maybe it will stop.  That BFN — well maybe there’s not enough HCG yet.

Anger – Goddamnit.  Why me?  Why is this happening again?!  What did I do to deserve this?  And this is usually where I get a major case of the self-destructive ‘fuck-its’ too.

Bargaining – Please God or the Universe or Mother Nature or whoever is in charge, please just let this be the month I’m pregnant.  Please?  I’ll be a better person… please?

Depression – ‘Nuff said.  Usually involves isolation, crying and chocolate.  And hatred of happy, fertile friends and people in general.

Acceptance – This month is over.  Time to start again.  Maybe this time it will be different.  Maybe this is our month.  This has to be our month…..

Yesterday (8 DPO), my temperature dipped really low (97.5, when it had been up around 98)This morning (9 DPO), it jumped up to 98.1; BUT my cervix is low...which usually means that the cycle has failed.  I am caught between trying to keep up my hope (denial, perhaps?) and flat-out depression.

Maybe soon I'll be on to acceptance...again.



  1. Just started reading your blog after finding you on Keiko's blog and this post in particular resonated with me - in fact, I wrote a post about it a few months back: the stages of grief in relation to IF. I, too, have PCOS but my symptoms are atypical, which unfortunately means I'm difficult to treat. Joy. Anyway, if you're interested, my blog is My husband and I have been on this journey since February of 2008 and no luck yet - hoping the next few months of IUI {2nd time trying that particular road} brings us our first BFP.

  2. Melissa: I will definitely be following your blog! I am so grateful for the online PCOS and IF communities. If not for these brave women, I would be years behind in my treatment.

    My PCOS is also atypical in that I did not really gain that much weight (still wear a size two even though I gained about 20-30 pounds at one point, I have lost it all since being on Chinese herbs), I did not have high testosterone only high estrogen, and I was ovulating (albeit quite late each cycle).

    When I was first diagnosed, the ultrasound tech said he had never seen so many cysts on ovaries before. He stopped counting at 50 on each ovary...there were more, but he was "tired". It was over-whelming to hear. I'm sure you can relate.

    At that time, we had already been TTC to for nearly two years, had one miscarriage, and one failed adoption. We felt as though we'd never be parents. We essentially did everything up to IVF. In June of this year, we were told I needed ovarian drilling and IVF to get pg. So, we decided we were done and to focus on adoption.

    Since then, I've been doing acupuncture and Chinese herbs - they've helped tremendously! And all-natural too! Our adoption starts (officially) in October; and we're really excited to finally be parents.

    I wish you MUCH good luck on your second round of IUI's! I hope that this will be the end of your struggle!

  3. Thanks for following along! I, too, don't know what I would do without the support of my family, friends, and blogosphere buddies, and it's always nice to discover fellow PCOS bloggers.

    I've never gained any weight from my PCOS, and my blood work/hormones are all borderline to normal. So frustrating! I tried Metformin for about 8 months in 2008/2009 and it made me sooo sick that I eventually stopped taking it, as it really wasn't doing all that much for me anyway. I'm not currently taking it, but if we go the IVF route {seriously hoping we can avoid it...} the doc said he would put me back on it. Again, joy.

    Currently, I'm taking Femara. I'm having some weird breakthrough bleeding on it right now...making me nervous...and my next ultrasound to see if my eggs are growing on track is scheduled for this coming Friday. I don't ovulate on my own, and sometimes don't even ovulate with meds. GRRRR.

    I would love to try acupuncture but I can't due to my pacemaker {I had open heart surgery in 2009 followed by a pacemaker implant in 2010} as I've heard really positive things about it, but perhaps I could give Chinese herbs a try. How did you find out what to take??

    Thank you for following on on this journey of mine and you have my good thoughts and prayers on your current adoption - can't wait to read all about it!

  4. Wow, that would be super frustrating! :-( My Dr. said he could put me on Metformin, but that it would most likely make me very sick. He told me to try cinnamon instead.

    I take 10 grams per day of Gui Zhi, a Chinese form of cinnamon; and it works GREAT! My cycles are perfect 28 days, and I haven't had any issues with the dizziness, etc. that I was feeling before when encountering sugar/carbs (although I now eat an extremely low-carb diet anyway, and absolutely no sugar).

    My husband found the study on the Chinese herbs. It was performed by two traditional Chinese herbalists and over-seen by four European western medicine doctors. The results were out of 50 women treated (ages 24-37, I believe) that 98% of them had no more cysts after the treatment (some was 30 days, others were 60 days).

    I will have no real way of knowing if mine has worked, because my Dr. is no longer doing IF, so I really have no one to go to to get an u/s to see if my cysts have gone away; but if feeling is anything, man, have I FELT a lot of stuff (some of it pretty unpleasant, but I would think obliterating cysts wouldn't be pleasant to begin with) going on this past month. Thursday will be the end of my 30-day treatment.

    I've written a couple of times on here about TCM and the herbal treatment I've been on. I think it might be below this post. Just scroll around and you'll see one or more posts. I even write about the place I ordered my herbs from (a TCM herbalist in Denver, CO), and how I ground them up and administered them to myself, etc.

    Thanks for the well wishes for our adoption! We're really excited! :-)