Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Infertility Chronicles: Today is a very special day.

Tonight I have an orientation to the process of adoption. I have spent a lot of time poring over photos of children across the United States that need homes. There have been several that immediately resounded with me when I watched their videos or read their stories. I need to ask my Mom and Dad how they felt when starting this process with me and my younger sister. They didn't have access to the information I do now, but I imagine they were still nervous!

Everyone wants an infant, it seems. My heart cries for those children who are above the age of 8, when it seems that it's really a far-fetched idea to find a home and family. I see distance in some of their eyes, pain in others, and hope in most. Yes, it's a beautiful thing to bring an infant home, just as I was, and raise them from the beginning.

How is that fair to those who have survived in foster-care or even emergency children's shelters for years and years? Some of these children have had good experiences, however you can vividly see the need they have for a permanent home and permanent love from a permanent family. The more that I've searched, the more open I am to adopting an older child. They need a mom, too.

There are several steps to the adoption process here in California. First you have your informational/orientation meeting, as I'm attending this evening. Then you go through a formal application. This is the scary part, I think. It involves a full medical history, financial assessment, job history, references, and the list goes on.

After all of that, you have a home study. which includes (again) financial assessment, personal relationships, and a criminal background check. I will have to come up with my birth certificate, divorce papers, and several other official forms. This is probably the most intrusive part of the study, but I am willing to undergo this to give someone a home and lots of love. This is also the part that takes the longest.

After that, the agency will search for a child for you. This can take forever, depending on your specifications, and of course, what the child needs. As I will be applying as a single parent, this may take longer.

Then comes the initial meeting and chaperoned visits. If all of that goes well and everyone likes each other, then the child is placed into the home for a length of time, which is all supervised. If that works out well for everyone, then the adoption is finalized.


I can't tell you how nervous and excited I am. I'll update here when I have more information. :)


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Infertility, Day Three

On Friday I learned from my OB/GYN that my AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) levels were <0.04.

This may not mean much to you, so let me explain....

AMH levels essentially tell you how many eggs/follicles you have left (or ovarian reserve, if you want to get fancy). There is a capsule surrounding your eggs which releases this hormone. As you can see on the chart on this website  , my levels are off-the-chart low.

Most of you were not aware of this, but I decided that I would start getting myself together so I could try to have a child.  I have worked hard to maintain my financial stability and have planned out, in the most obsessive fashion, a budget, potential timeline, insurance considerations, childcare considerations, school considerations, etc. Then it was left to physical testing and an appointment with my physician.

This is where the blood tests came in. Even though I have been healthy, my egg reserve has evidently gone the "powdered" route (lightly put by a coworker, and I was grateful for the laugh).

I have been referred to infertility specialists, and I do intend on following up with them once an appointment can be made. While initially heartbroken, and still hurting, I am going to go the distance here to make sure there is nothing else that can be done. I will have further blood testing done. Yes, I turn 40 in a few months. Yes, I am single. However, I have a beautiful support system in the form of my family, loving partner, and countless friends. I have found message boards online with other women who shed tears just as I have.

This morning I was cleaning my "creative chaos" and came upon the brochures for various methods of fertilization. This inspired yet another tearstorm, but also words. Lots of words, which I am writing here.

I am not sharing this for pity or sympathy or for my currently-pregnant friends not to speak to me about their joys. (Please don't stop sharing every little second, ladies, I am so full of love and joy for you.) I am sharing this because I have a feeling someone else, in the near future, may be where I am now and may  need to know they're not alone. I cried for the loss of a pregnancy I once had, and now I cry for the pregnancy that may never be. And this is okay.

I will also be joining a meeting next month for potential adoptive parents. It's always been a dream of mine to adopt a little one, much as I was adopted. If God decides to bring a child into my life in this manner, I will have been even more blessed. My mom told me the other day, "You have always gone after what you've wanted until you succeeded."

I'm sure I will write more about this journey. Thank you for listening, and a very special thank you to my family, friends, and amazing boyfriend who love me for me, and not for what I may or may not be able to produce. <3

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

I only get an eyelash in my eye if I'm in contact isolation.


You know I'm right. The only time on this green Earth when you get that stray eyelash poking your eyeball out is when you're gowned and gloved and elbow-deep in whatever assignment you've been thrown that day. Then you have two choices. You can finish your job with one eye jammed shut, streaking tears and mascara down your face, or you can rip everything off, leave the patient open to the wind, and run screaming down the hall going, "My eye! My eye!" 

Would you like to know what goes on for the other 11 hours and 15 minutes at work with five patients?

06:30 -- Drag myself down the block and up the stairs (or elevator. Okay, elevator.) Squint at night-shift coworkers and pray that one of them has been kind enough to make at least six gallons of strong coffee.

06:35 -- Thank anyone who's listening for making coffee. Slowly begin to chirp "Good morning" at fellow day-shifters as we straggle in. Claim a computer and attempt to write down room assignments, having to check the board at least twelve times to make sure I've written down the right rooms.

06:50 -- Begin looking up patients. The previous 15 minutes have been spent inhaling coffee at the speed of sound and ignoring the "holy God, how much sugar are you going to put in that" commentary.

07:00 -- Bedside report begins. The level of noise instantly goes from Lullaby League to NHL Sudden Death Overtime. Call lights and phones start ringing, and the Unit Clerk just about detonates from lack of sleep and sound overload.

07:25 -- Fourteenth cup of coffee.

(Phone begins ringing.)

07:40 -- I begin my assessments after jostling with 8 other nurses for Accu-Chek monitors. Some assessments take 10 minutes. Others take an hour. Once I didn't even have time to assess a patient before being waved frantically into the room where I found the patient was dying.

(Phone continues ringing.)

08:30 -- It's ON, yo! 10 nurses fighting over 2 Pyxis machines, one of which never has any medications in it, all trying to get our meds in and charted by 09:59. If we all have students with us, there are about nine-thousand people in the med-room. The noise level goes supersonic. All we need is a boombox and disco ball for a good time. And sequins.

(At the rate this phone is ringing, it's going to need a new battery.)

10:15 -- My phone rings. Again. "Make sure you do your acuities," drawls a pleasant voice that belongs to my charge nurse. "Sure boss," I say, knowing that we're supposed to have every-damn-thing charted by 10:00. Continue charging through meds and paperwork and charting.

10:17 -- Phone calls every 30 seconds to say, "Dr. _____ is here." "Dr. ______ would like to see you in room ___."  I've said, "If Dr. _____ can provide cloning services, I'll be there in a jif."

(Replace battery in phone.)

** Usually at this time, I've also sent one or more patients to the OR or other random areas in the hospital for tests/procedures/surgeries. This results in six-hundred more phone calls.**

***Also, because nobody ever has a spokesperson for their family, we also field another thousand phone calls from concerned family members. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be in the patient's room and can hand off the phone to the patient or a present family member.***

12:30 -- LUNCHTIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

13:00 -- Check on my patients. Administer more meds. Check blood sugars if they weren't done already. Try to catch up on charting. Surgical patients return around this time. I try to remember my own name.

(Phone ringer is imprinted in my mind to where I'm answering it and it hasn't even rung.)

14:00 -- Get the inappropriately unstoppable giggles from too much caffeine.

15:00 -- Have another cup of coffee just because it's one of my favorite CNAs who always asks, "Hey, you want a cup of coffee baby?" ... just the way she has for the last 3 years. Lots of hugging occurs at this time, too, because the afternoon shift is cuddly.

17:00 -- The afternoon flow of phone calls and family visitors increases as people get off of work. I'm glad I've finished most of my charting by this time, because holy cow.

(Phone rings... it's the afternoon physician visitation hour.)

**One of my daily goals is to make at least one doctor laugh. I consider this playtime.**

18:50 -- My eyes are peeled for the arrival of night shift. Mouse button and keyboard are smoking from the intense, insane clicking as I try to finish charting on time and get out before I rack up any more overtime. Usually by this time, I'm trying to drink enough water to flush some of the sugar out of my system.

19:30 -- Hopefully, I've clocked out at this time and am rambling down the street to my home. Hopefully, it's been a good day. Hopefully, tomorrow will be even better.

20:45 -- Showered and passed out. That is, if I'm off on time.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Wackford Squeers and the Woodchuck: A Love Story

[Shelly, this one is all because of you. You and your sweat-less yet bad-ass mac & cheese.]

Once upon a time, a tall, gangly dude named Mister Wackford Squeers discovered himself striding down a narrow street with drab beige walls towering overhead. He was on the hunt - yet he didn't know what he was hunting for. He felt hungry, but it might have been the boredom. The suffocating, drab beige boredom surrounded him, even now, as he rambled down the road. The world was dampened and muted by the invisible, choking, apathetic cloud.

The sudden sight of a crimson awning startled him out of his reverie. His long legs carried him to the window to read the small sign hanging there: "SnootiAsse Fraunch Boulangerie". Chuckling softly, he pushed the heavy door open and walked into the building, curious.

His nose was pleasantly assaulted by the decadent scent of butter and cheeses. The hunger he felt before blossomed into noisy gastric growls as his mouth began watering. His feet seemingly moved of their own accord to a corner table, set with a prissy white tablecloth and single white rose. There was nobody else in the vicinity. All he could hear was the slamming of pots and pans somewhere miles away in the kitchen.

He began to loudly clear his throat to gain someone's attention, as it became clear that nobody had heard him come in. That clearance quickly turned into a choking attack as he turned and was confronted face-to-face by a toothy, grouchy fuzzball. What made Wackford choke even more was the fact that this fuzzball was sporting a tall chef's hat. "This is just every kind of wrong," he thought to himself while attempting to gulp oxygen into his lungs.

"MAY I BE OF ASSISTANCE, MONSIEUR!" boomed Chef Woodchuck in a surprisingly deep, throaty voice. Mr. Squeers was amused to note that these vocalizations were perfectly uninterrupted by the dagger-like teeth currently bared at him. The woodchuck slammed a menu down in front of Wackford.

Once the paroxysms had diminished, Mr. Squeers perused the brief menu and pointed at fancy words which translated into "Potatoes with AmazeBalls Gravy" and "Bad-ASS Macaroni & Cheese". Without further communication, Chef Woodchuck disappeared into the kitchen in a blaze of brown fur. Wackford was left with his confusion and the white rose which appeared to be nodding at him in agreement.

The aromas from the kitchen flooded even more strongly into the immense dining area. Wackford drummed his fingers impatiently on the white tablecloth, awaiting the culinary treasures which were sure to delight the senses. Just when he thought he couldn't take another second of waiting, two plates were shoved in front of him. Wackford jumped again, unaccustomed to the silent movements of the woodchuck. He gazed down at his bounty, slowly becoming aware of the woodchuck's intense glare. The beady eyes grew even more drawn as the woodchuck was assessed.

Wackford took a small bite of the mac & cheese. His hair stood on end from the immense pleasure of this experience. He looked at the woodchuck with awe and reverence. "Truly bad-ass, Chef." A brief nod from the woodchuck, and Wackford dug his silverware into the potatoes. The flavor of mushrooms almost blinded him as he savored the second dish. "Completely amazeballs, sir," Mr. Squeers murmured, as he continued to enjoy his meal.

The woodchuck preened.  As if the grumpy switch had been turned off, the woodchuck beamed toothfully at his new customer. He bustled off into the kitchen with his fur puffed out. Wackford left a large sum of money on the table and exited the building into the drab beige, noting the location for future reference.

As he was preparing to turn a corner, he looked back for the awning. It wasn't there. All Wackford saw was a stretch of drab beige that seemingly lasted forever. With the residual taste of mushroom gravy and cheese on his tongue, he returned to reality.


[Side note: Wackford Squeers is a character from Charles Dickens' Nicolas Nickleby.]

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