Saturday, January 07, 2012

Holy Shit

December 3rd

Holy shit. We've been picked! Someone picked our profile book out of four families that were presented.
She's going to give birth either Monday (induced) or sometime VERY soon. Her due date is December 16. We're meeting her tomorrow and I'm a bit of a nervous wreck. It's our first meeting and I want to make a good impression. I don't want to get too carried away with excitement, because I'll get way too nervous, and I definitely don't want them to see me all nervous. Like I told Andrés, I want to have clean, serene, positive energy tomorrow. He's very excited too.
Just today I was reading the Peru Adoption Yahoo Group board and someone was saying how they were withdrawing because they've already waited for too long and spent too much money and they just can't take it anymore. That they had heard through the grapevine that the process is taking longer now for couples who want toddlers and they were talking 5 year waits. I freaked! We've waited a year and we're reaching our breaking point. I can't imagine hanging in there for another 4.
What if she meets us and doesn't like us? Everybody's fear, of course. I guess then we move on. That child was not meant to be ours.
But I want to think POSITIVE. That this CAN work out, that we WILL get along, and that we WILL have great chemistry.
Then I want to think that the child will be born healthy.
Then I want to think that our official proposal/approval process will be FAST.
Then I want to think that my mom will be here still when we bring our little one home.
Then I want to think that nobody will change their mind about things.
Then I want to think that the child will be a happy boy or girl and that we will be a happy family together: Andrés, me, the baby and Lucas.
And THEN I want to think that we will live happily ever after.

December 4
We meet the birth mother and grandmother at a Pickle Barrel on Sunday. Turns out there was nothing at all to worry about. They are the two loveliest people one could ever meet. Conversation was easy and flowed from topic to topic. Summers spent at the cottage, her love of horses and dogs, our Lucas, our summers in Zapallar, growing up in Montreal, Santiago, Mississauga... All of a sudden, a question that took us aback: do we want the baby circumcised? Wow. Does this mean you still pick us? Is this really happening? It's a boy! Then another: do we have plans to keep the cord blood? Holy cow. Then: do we have any names in mind? We don't know... the question kind of took us by surprise. I've had so many names at the ready through the years, since I was little and dreamt of being a mother, and through all my pregnancies and miscarriages. Now that they ask me point blank, I draw a blank. Benjamin? She loves it. The social worker tells us that birth mothers traditionally pick the middle name. She can't think of one, but I'm sure it will come later. One last question: do we want to be at the birth? DO. WE. WANT. TO. BE. AT. THE. BIRTH. What a question! We eat and laugh. We laugh a lot. And not nervous giggles. Real belly laughs, like we've known each other since the beginning of time. We finish our meal and get up to leave. I stay behind with the practitioners and our agent, who I've grown to love so much over the last 3 years. I hug them each and whisper thank you in their ears. They hug me back. Tight. They too feel happy. It's their job, but it's the kind of job you do with your heart as much as your mind. We say our goodbyes and hug the birth mother and grandmother. Somehow, their bone-breaking hugs tell me that their minds are made up and that they can leave their unease about the pregnancy behind, now that they know where the baby will go after it's born.

December 5
She's having an ultrasound at 2 to see if she should be induced. Turns out her due date is December 19, not 16 as the social worker had said. The 19th is our wedding anniversary. Coincidence? Baby's growth has slowed down and it makes me nervous. I've heard those words before, and they have never preceded a happy ending. The ultrasound shows that the baby hasn't grown much, but is still growing, very active. Although she is 3 cm dilated, she won't be induced today. It's a good thing, too. Our proposal isn't ready yet, and it still has to be approved by the Ministry. If the baby comes before the approval, he will be in foster care until everything is ready. The birth mother doesn't want this, nor do we. We text each other through the evening and she asks if we'd like to be there for her doctor's appointment on Wednesday. Of course! Do they want to come over after to see our home and meet Lucas? Yes! It's a deal. Oh, wait. One last question: do you think Andrés will want to cut the umbilical cord? Honestly? I can't love her more at this moment. Though I know very soon I'll love her a whole lot more.
That night I deck my Christmas tree and listen to Lou Rawls. I think about our son and how this will be his first Christmas tree. Our adoption agent comes by to get our signature on lots and lots of documents. She needs to get the Ministry's approval ASAP, so we can avoid foster care. We're told it takes a few days for the case to be assembled and then about a week for the approval. Let's hope it's enough time!

December 6
I want so badly to speak to her, but I don't want to be a pest. I text her about tomorrow. Is her dad coming (we haven't met)? No, he's got the flu still. Would she like to come to our place afterward for tea with her mum, so they can see where we live. I confess I've been gathering things together: a car seat borrowed from a friend who bought it from another friend, a sleeping bag borrowed from a friend who got it from yet another friend. All my friends' babies who I've held and loved and watched grow over the years, all their energies in these objects that are now coming to me, for my son. A son! What a concept! I've been looking through my drawers where I've stored all baby things I've accumulated through the years and found little boy shoes and toys and diaper bags and pacifiers, a silver rattle, and a Baby Björn that I bought in 2000, when I was pregnant for the very first time. I gingerly open the box and take the carrier out. I've never touched it before. I strap it on and look in the mirror. I just cannot believe that this is happening.
All day I feel like I'm over caffeinated. I'm high on adrenaline. Andrés and I lock eyes and just know what the other is thinking. We hug a lot over the course of the day. We cry a little, we smile. It's intense. All of a sudden, I am asking Andrés where should the crib go in the nursery and he's not uncomfortable with the question. He embraces it, thinks about it and points to where our son's crib will go.
The birth mother has lost her mucous plug today. A sign that labour is progressing, but not actively yet. No contractions. It could be a few weeks before this baby is born. We text each other and giggle, like two girlfriends sharing a secret. She hopes the baby waits until the papers are ready. She wants him to go home from the hospital. She is amazing. She is our angel. We are blessed.

December 7
We wake up before the sun to interpret at a conference call in the far north end of town. We have so much to do at home before going to the doctor's appointment. I can barely concentrate on my job. I make endless lists and draw a plan of the nursery. This is all just crazy. We will be parents in a few weeks, possibly less, and just a few days ago we were planning anniversary outings and trips abroad.
Home, at last, we run around like headless chickens. Lucas needs to eat and go for a walk, the house needs to be tidied. And how on earth can I show them our basement in the state it's in?! I sweat and work, and in half an hour I accomplish more in that basement than in my last basement mission, which lasted a full day.
Finally we jump in the car and make the trip to Mississauga to meet them at the doctor's. Andrés has picked up a tart for tea and the house is perfect. Can't wait for them to meet Lucas.
Her sister is with her this time too, so we meet another member of her family. We wait for the appointment chatting away. Finally, she is called and we stand up to go. The doctor is very pleasant and bubbly. She greets us like she's had a million adoptive parents at her appointments before. She puts her doppler on the birth mum's belly and we hear him for the very first time, like a galloping horse. My own heart races as I ask if I can record it. 14 seconds of his heartbeat for posterity.
Baby has not been growing much, but seems fine. Her blood pressure is elevated, though, so she is sent to the hospital for a non stress test and – perhaps – induction. Andrés and I look at each other in disbelief. He might be born today.
The stress test goes well, baby is fine, but the doctor is concerned about her. They are going to induce. We sit and wait with her. What do you talk about in these situations? Hockey, of course.
Finally we are shooed out by the nurse. This isn't going to go anywhere tonight. We should get some sleep and come back in the morning. She needs to rest too. Also the cord blood kit is at home.
We leave. A part of me is relieved. I need to sleep badly. I need to process what is happening. I need to hug my dog.
We end up going to bed super late, dreaming about our son and talking about names. Benjamin? Oliver? Sacha?

December 8
3:00 am
Phone rings in the middle of the night. It takes me what seems to be forever to come to. I feel like someone has pulled me out from the bottom of a lake. She tells me she's 10 cm and about to push. We jump out of bed and run out the door. The drive there is frantic. The lights of the city rush past us. After tonight, we will never feel the same again. We will never look out our car window and see things the same way. I try and take it all in. A futile effort.
We park and jump out of the car, breaking into a run with our cord blood kit that will never get used. We locate her room and burst through the door. The first thing I see is a large bowl with a placenta inside. And then, her, radiant, proud, sitting up and eating, smiling. She congratulates us. We hug. Her mum and friend tell us how fast it all happened. So fast, that nobody was present at the birth. She pushed four times and he was out. But where is he? Oh, they took him to intensive care; he had aspirated some fluid on his way out and was having trouble breathing. The nurse comes in and whisks us off to the nursery. We go through the first door and she tells us to wash our hands. Then we walk through the second door and into a room full of cribs, each with a tiny baby inside. She tells us he's in the last crib. As I walk toward him, I feel all the anxiety of the last 12 years become a kind of joy I've never felt before. I let the tears come in all their abundance as I am finally in front of him, all swollen and tiny. I lean over to kiss him and introduce myself. Hi Benji. It's Mommy.
Over the course of the day we drift in and out of the nursery. His breathing is really bad and laboured. They put him on CPAP, which is a kind of ventilator. He breathes on his own, but this device will help dry out the fluid in his lungs. They X-ray him and find that the lungs are mature. They estimate that he is about 36 weeks gestation at birth, two less than the ultrasounds had estimated. He weighs 6 pounds, 2 ounces. Not bad. With every visit to the nursery, we see improvement. I could sit there for hours just gazing at him, rubbing one little foot and whispering sweet nothings in his ear. I love him already.
We leave the hospital to tend to Lucas and, quite frankly, to get our shit together. We have not a crib, not a car seat, not a diaper. We shop at the pharmacy for bottles and pacifiers. Then we get home, supposedly to sleep just a few hours, but end up doing a million other things instead before heading back in the evening, after traffic has died down.
The Ministry has approved our file in record time, so we can take him home as soon as he is discharged. He is much better now, but is still connected to the CPAP machine and has an IV and other tubes. I wish so much that I could take him home. We visit her too. Her blood pressure is still elevated, so she will be staying at least until tomorrow. She visits him in the nursery and texts us updates after we've left.

December 9
After a night of full and deep sleep, we get up and try and work fast on whatever is pending, so we can head out there for lunch time. As luck would have it, we've gotten more work than we can handle at the moment. Our minds are in Mississauga.
He's off CPAP and looking cute and peaceful sucking on his green soother. We're told we'll be able to hold him and feed him today. He "baptizes" Andrés during a diaper change, which gets everyone laughing. Finally, he's ready to be held. The birth mom is supposed to hold him first, but she wants us to be the first ones. She wants to see us in our new roles as Dad and Mom, make sure she got it right.
They put him in my arms, he opens his eyes and looks straight at me. I melt. We stare at each other for what seems like hours. I feed him and fall in love some more. Then it's Andrés's turn. I can tell the same thing is happening to him. As Ben looks him in the eyes, he is spreading out his love tentacles and clinging to his heart, tugging at it until it's his to keep.
Finally, she holds him too. We take pictures of him, of each of us, of the four of us, the three of us, the two of us... Then it's time for her to leave. She has been discharged from the hospital and is anxious to go home, sleep in her own bed, hug her dog. I know almost exactly how she feels. I think we have a lot in common, she and I. As she leaves the three of us behind, we start to look at each other and see the beautiful family that remains.
We stay as late as we can before we head back home to continue to get our shit together. We buy multifunctional items at Babies-R-Us, like a car seat-stroller combo, or a playard with an integrated change table and two mattress heights. We just cannot believe it. They give us a gift bag filled with diaper ointments and baby body washes and lotions. We are in total disbelief, going through the motions like two zombies.

December 10
We get taken to Ben. The nurses want to see us change his diaper, feed and burp him and change his clothes, re-swaddle him and put him to bed. They have a talk with us, trying to gauge our experience with newborns, welcoming questions. Every minute it feels more and more real.
We end up spending the whole day at the hospital. At 5, we kiss him goodbye and leave to go shopping for diapers, formula and wipes. Andrés tells me that now he knows he's a dad. "When you find yourself at a suburban Wal-Mart on a Saturday evening shopping for diapers and wipes, you know you're a parent."
We have dinner with good friends and head home for what will be the last night of uninterrupted sleep we will have for a very long time.

December 11
A week ago today, we were at the Pickle Barrel meeting a pregnant girl and her mother for the first time. And now, we are taking the baby she gave birth to home with us. It all seems wildly surreal. In the last twelve years, I've accumulated 100 weeks of pregnancy. I could have made three whole babies in that time. But now I had skipped pregnancy altogether and was holding my newborn son, all decked out in his "going home outfit" and about to be placed in his car seat. We've been with the birth mom all morning talking about how often we want to see each other, and how the visits will take place. Essentially, we want to see enough of each other that we are able to build a relationship that feels natural, that Ben sees her as a staple in his life and there is no awkwardness between them as he grows up.
When it's time to go, we walk down together, like a weird and wonderful family. We get the car seat into the car and she takes a picture of us. I get into the back seat with him and Andrés takes us home. We wave goodbye and we are finally alone, the three of us, no tubes or wires, no nurses, no social workers, no birth mum. Us. The family that we now are.
Later, we introduce him to Lucas, who at first doesn't give a damn, but quickly changes his attitude when he sees me feed him and hears him coo as he swallows his milk. He nervously approaches us, whining, and sets his chin on my lap, looks me in the eyes searching for reassurance. I tell him that I love him, that he has nothing to worry about, that that – at least – won't change. But everything else will.
Our first day together we learn to slow down. Our days and nights are now fragmented into chunks of time where we feed, burp and change him and chunks where he sleeps and we do everything else. Later, he'll stay awake more often between feeds, but right now, he goes into a milk coma and welcomes his bed.

December 12
Our first night, Andrés sleeps and I stay up. In my inexperience, I make the mistake of not sleeping between feeds and the next morning I'm knackered, while Andrés marvels at how refreshed he feels. Parenthood doesn't seem to be that hard after all... I hear him tell everybody who will listen how he slept through the night and secretly hate him a little. A quick reality check later, we split our day into shifts. He'll do the night feeds tonight.

January 2
Christmas and New Year's eves were quite different this year. I was up all night on both occasions and stayed in pijamas all day Christmas day and New Year's day (well, most of the day, because we've had a steady stream of guests pop in since we brought Ben home). Our shifts work well, and we basically see who is most tired at the end of the day and that person takes the 7 am feed. Mostly, Andrés does nights while I feed him through the day. We're becoming experts at changing diapers and avoiding getting soaked in the process. I feel tired, but not sleep deprived, thanks to Andrés's and my mum's priceless support. It's 7 am and I hold him, his face bathed in the blue light of the dawn reflecting off fresh snow. God! He looks so perfect when he sleeps. It makes me forget the ear piercing screams he can formulate when he's trying very hard to belch (still a challenge). I love it when he's happy and calm, staring out the window, staring at me... He's the beautiful baby boy I've been waiting for all my life. I can't wait to see him smile or hear him giggle. He does it already, but only in his sleep. It's almost as if he is more mature in his dream life than in his waking life. He's very strong. When he has crying fits, boy can he kick! And he lifts his head to stare at things when I lay him on his belly on my chest, or when I put him over my shoulder to burp him. His legs are slowly beginning to fill in and even his feet are looking plumper. I wouldn't be surprised if by now he's surpassed his birth weight by a few ounces. My mum and I are trying to figure out how to weigh him on the kitchen scale. Hahaha
Friday is the day that the revocation period lapses. This period of time starts when the birth mum signs consent, which can only happen a week and a day after the birth. Sometimes they take longer to sign, but in our case, it was right on the day and so the 21 days will be up on January 6 – both my mum's birthday and Epiphany.

January 7
12:30 am
He's ours!

Friday, April 01, 2011

What's Going On with the Adoption?!

This is the question we get whenever we bump into friends who we haven't seen or talked to in a while. When we were in the process of attempting to have a family the "bio" way (including through in vitro with a generously lent uterus), we would tire of hearing the question, "So?" Sometimes I would be pregnant, and the "so" would be followed by "How's the pregnancy coming along?" Whenever I heard that, I felt like running away to a beach cove I know in Chile and hiding out there till things "happened", come what may. How was I supposed to know how the pregnancy was going?! I didn't have a camera to monitor it every day! I was already getting ultrasounds every other week, thanks to our wonderful healthcare system, without which I wouldn't have been able to be so closely monitored, or try all the therapies that I did. I was already stressed out enough by the pregnancy itself to on top of it all have to relive each detail with every person who asked about "the pregnancy". Hence, the blog.

The blog was a great way to update everyone on the goings-on in one fell swoop during our attempt at surrogacy, and when Andy underwent a complicated surgery, but when we left behind the desire to continue the "bio" route and changed the route that we were on toward parenthood to adoption, I grew tired of updating the blog, because honestly the milestones were so few and far between that I seldom had something to tell. Also, they were completely unsexy milestones. "Hey, we got our police clearance certificates in the mail today! Hurrah!" Or, "Today we went to the notary to get everything stamped! Yippee!" Compared with, "Today, my friend selflessly offered to house my baby in her uterus for nine months!" I rest my case. You have been spared of two and almost a half years of unsexy milestones, but you still want to know, so here's a summary.

From October 2008 to June 2009, we ran around like headless chickens getting copies of all our certificates (birth, marriage, police), chasing after our accountant for letters about our financial health; sitting in waiting rooms to get X-rays, blood tests and overall medical checkups to attest to our physical health; applying for police certificates and getting fingerprints taken; taking a course in adoption and attending multiple seminars; persuading wonderful friends and relatives to write nice things about us; and visiting with our adoption practitioner to complete what they call a "home study". All those papers went to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services of Ontario in June 2009 so they could approve us to apply for adoption in Peru, and thus began one of many waiting periods to come. It should have lasted 8 weeks, but it ended up taking five months, because a well known international adoption agency went bankrupt and left a lot of families hanging. The Ministry had its hands full.

We finally got our approval at the beginning of December 2009. Of course by then ALL the papers were expired and we had to get it all redone to send now to Peru for their approval. In addition, they required that we be assessed by a shrink, so she could write us a letter asserting that we were not demented and that we were a sturdy couple. D'ya think? Finally, we had to write a profile photo book with copy about what a great couple we were and how much we wanted to be parents, addressed to the social workers in Peru who would review our file. Our file left Canada in March 2010 and we entered another waiting period.

In the heat of last summer I started to get antsy. We hadn't heard from Peru and it was taking too long. Turned out that our papers had not even been translated yet (they had to be translated in Peru by their certified translators). Five months had gone by and, being a translator myself, I felt like strangling someone. I or any of my colleagues in Toronto could have translated the entire thing in just a few weeks. But there was a backlog somewhere, and, well, that's just how it goes.

In October 2010, we got a letter from MIMDES (Peruvian ministry in charge of international adoptions) saying that the file had been translated and was being reviewed, but that a lot of the documents were by now too old and needed to be reissued (and retranslated, renotarized, reauthenticated, relegalized, etc.). We were so tired of the process that it took us a day or two to react. They wanted everything redone in 4 weeks. The police clearance can take up to 12 weeks! So frustrating... But there we went again. All the medical exams redone, including a letter from the shrink saying nothing had changed, all the police clearances redone, financials redone... the list goes on and on. But when it came time to send, we thought what if all these docs get caught in the translation void over there and expire yet again? So we took a risk and had the translations done here. In the end, it took some persuading for them to accept the translations we had done, but they did and on November 17, 2010, we were finally approved to form part of their registry of waiting families.

So, what's going on with the adoption?! We're in another waiting period for now, one they say should take about a year, but if we're lucky, before 2011 comes to a close, we should have a child referred to us and should be running around town again getting papers in order for the final leg of the race: the 6 to 8 week trip to Peru to pick up the fourth* member of our family.

*The third member is Lucas, of course. Here he is having laser treatments for arthritis pain. He's quite the warrior at age 12!

A special shout out to the anonymous reader who suggested I get a Facebook button. Thank you for your $0.02, as you put it. I've also included a few other buttons in the top right of the page to make it easier to subscribe to the blog, should you choose to do so. The Atom button will send new entries of the blog to your email.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Son las 2:30 de la madrugada y estoy en pie. Podríamos decir que estoy entrenándome para cuando nos toque ser padres y tengamos que vivir la locura por la que todos ustedes han pasado, están pasando o por la que pronto pasarán. En fin, llevamos casi ONCE años esperando algún día vivir esa locura. ¿Por qué no empezar a entrenarnos para aquello ahora?

Bueno, para serles sincera, cualquier otra noche estaría durmiendo profundamente, con mi cabeza recostada sobre las costillas de Andrés. Mi subconsciente, siempre preocupado, estaría probablemente controlando el ritmo cardíaco y de respiración tanto de Andrés como el de Lucas, mientras que la parte de mi subconsciente encargada de los sueños estaría despreocupadamente ¡soñando, por supuesto!

Pero esta noche es especial. Tenemos todos los papeles (menos un resultado de un análisis y una carta) en mano para actualizar nuestro expediente en el Perú y yo estoy en pie porque estoy traduciéndolo todo para mandárselo a mi buena amiga V, para que luego ella revise y corrija mis traducciones, y luego las certifique. Mañana deberíamos recibir la carta que nos falta para completar el proceso. Luego deberemos notariar la firma de V en su afidávit de certificación; llevaremos las traducciones a ser autenticadas y legalizadas al consulado del Perú. Y luego tenemos UNA SUERTE LOCA de contar entre nuestros amigos a un amor de hombre que trabaja como sobrecargo y que "justo" viajará a Perú la semana entrante. Él se llevará nuestros papeles para que lleguen el 4 de noviembre, el plazo estipulado por MIMDES. Luego... Bueno, lo demás queda en manos de Dios.


It is 2:30 am and I am up. Let's call this training for when we become parents and go through the hell y'all have been through/are going through/will be going through soon. Hey, we've been waiting for almost ELEVEN years to go through that hell, so why not start training for it now?

Well, I'll be honest with you; on any normal night, I'd be in the deepest sleep at this point of the night, with my head on Andrés's chest; my worrisome subconscious would be monitoring his heartbeat and breathing while also monitoring Lucas's heartbeat and breathing; my worry-free dreaming subconscious would be, well, dreaming!

Tonight is a special night, though. Having all the papers (minus one test result and one letter) we need to update our adoption file in Peru, I am up translating it all and sending it piecemeal to my good friend V for her to review and correct and later certify. Tomorrow we should get the missing letter and finish the process. Then comes notarizing V's certification affidavit, authenticating the notary's signature and legalizing it all at the Peruvian consulate. We are SO EXTREMELY FORTUNATE to have a good friend who is a flight attendant and "just happens" to be flying to Peru next week. He will be taking our papers with him, so they get there on time for our November 4th deadline. And then, well, then it's all in God's hands.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Después de pasar tres días encerrada en mi pieza lamentándome, ya estaba harta. Era domingo, por la cresta. Eso significaba que mañana ya sería lunes, por si no me están entendiendo. Y eso implicaba que habría prácticamente tirado el fin de semana al tacho. Necesitaba un poco de aire fresco y hacer algo entretenido con Andrés. Así que le di la brillante idea de invitarme a salir a comer brunch (una suerte de desayuno-almuerzo, que en realidad es una excusa para comer huevos con pan tostado a la hora de almuerzo) y partimos. Debo decir que fue necesaria una ducha larga y caliente y varias capas de maquillaje para transformarme en una persona digna de aparecer en público. Tengo unas ojeras colosales. Pero ya me estoy yendo por las ramas.

Terminamos bruncheando unos platos deliciosos en un restaurant que se llama Mildred Pierce, en honor a la película de los años 40. No les puedo explicar qué buen uso le dieron a las semillas de hinojo y a los champiñones silvestres en los platos que pedimos, pero el goce empezó aún antes de la comida con la espectacular vista de la ciudad en el camino. El aire estaba vigorizante y los colores otoñales... ¡luminosos! Supongo que si el verano llega temprano, como lo hizo este año, el otoño entra con ansias también. Toronto se veía muy guapa hoy. Me volví a enamorar como hace 13 años. Y esta facilidad para maravillarme con el aire, la vista, y los sabores de mi tarde dominguera me hicieron ver que encerrarme por tres días tiene otra ventaja – el mismo efecto que tienen en mí esas motas de color que emergen entre la nieve del paisaje monocromático de nuestro largo invierno.

Siempre se me ha criticado por recibir el otoño con felicidad. Los amantes del verano siempre me han dicho que soy una aguafiestas, pero no es cierto. Verán, a mí también me encanta el verano. Y no es que ame el otoño más. Lo que pasa es que lo aprecio más gracias al verano. Igual que el invierno me hace valorar el verano tantísimo más también.

No les diré que los inviernos que pasé en Chile no fueron fríos y grises; hasta me acuerdo de dar pruebas en la universidad envuelta en mi abrigo y con los guantes puestos! Pero las estaciones en Santiago al menos nunca fueron tan definidas como acá. Era más bien una "temporada de frío" seguida por una "temporada de calor". Además, eso de celebrar la Navidad en el verano nunca tuvo mucho sentido para mí. En el verano nadie tiene tiempo para nada. Todos están ocupadísimos divirtiéndose, así que prepararse para la Navidad, escribir tarjetas, hacer listas, hornear galletas, ir de compras... todo eso es una gran lata que nadie hace con amor. Especialmente cuando hacen 35ºC y el centro comercial no tiene aire acondicionado (aunque seguro que hoy en día todos tienen). Pero puedo esperar unos meses más para hablar más sobre el tema de la Navidad.

Después de deleitarnos con nuestra comida nos dimos una vuelta en auto por el Don Valley, maravillándonos con los manchones de rojo furioso y naranjo fuego que se pueden ver entre el follaje aún profundamente verde del valle. Está todo hermoso. No se lo pierdan... La vita è bella.

Easy Like Sunday

After three days of being cooped up in my bedroom feeling sorry for myself, I decided I'd had enough. It was Sunday, for crying out loud. That meant tomorrow was Monday, in case you hadn't caught up with my reasoning, and that meant that the weekend would have been wasted. I needed to breathe some fresh air and spend quality time with Andrés. So I gave him the brilliant idea of inviting me out to brunch and away we went. I gotta say, it took a long hot shower and several layers of makeup to make me look decent enough to go out in public. The dark circles under my eyes are of epic proportions. But I digress.

We ended up brunching something delicious at Mildred Pierce. I can't tell you enough about how well they use fennel seeds and wild mushrooms. But even before we got there, the city was amazing me with its crisp air and bright fall colours! I guess when summer starts as early as this year's, fall is anxious to get a move on. Toronto was looking mighty fine today. I fell in love with it all over again. And this easy amazement I was experiencing with the air, the sights, the tastes of my early Sunday afternoon out and about made me think of another upside to being cooped up for three days. It's the same effect as when the black and white landscape of our long winter becomes peppered with dots of colour.

I've always been criticised for welcoming fall with fanfare. Summer lovers everywhere always tell me I'm a party pooper, but it's not so. I love the summer too, you see. And I don't love the fall more than the summer. It's just that I appreciate it so much more because of the summer. And I appreciate the summer so much more because of the winter too.

Not to say that the winters in Chile weren't cold and grey; hell, I remember sitting in a university classroom wearing my winter coat and gloves while sitting for a test. But the seasons in Santiago at least were never as marked as they are here. It was more like a "cold season" followed by a "hot season". Also, Christmas in the summer never made sense to me at all. Nobody has time for anything in the summertime. You just want to be all over the place having fun, so preparing for Christmas, writing cards, making lists, baking cookies, shopping... that's all one big chore that everyone hates doing. Especially when it's 35ºC and the shopping mall has no A/C (I'm sure they all do now). But Christmas is a topic that I can certainly wait a few months to write about.

After brunch we drove up and down the Don Valley marvelling at the shots of fiery red and burnt orange you can now see among the still lush deep green of the valley's foliage. It is beautiful out there. Let's not miss it... La vita è bella.

Cuánto tiempo que no escribo...

Hace mucho que no actualizo mi blog. La última vez que escribí fue para recaudar fondos para el terremoto, pero eso no cuenta como actualización. Es decir, hace un año y medio que no les cuento sobre mi vida y sobre nuestro proceso de adopción. Seguro pensarán que entonces debe haber mucho que contar. Siento decepcionarles pero lo que más hemos hecho es esperar.

En junio del año pasado, tres meses después de mi última actualización, terminamos de reunir todos los papeles y certificados que nos pedía el Ministerio de Servicios al Menor, encargado en Canadá de aprobar a las familias que quieren adoptar. Generalmente demoran 8 a 12 semanas en emitir su aprobación, pero recién a fines de noviembre, principios de diciembre recibimos la carta que tanto esperábamos. Esto se debió en gran parte al hecho de que una agencia de adopciones internacionales llamada Imagine había declarado quiebra y el Ministerio estaba ocupado ayudando a las familias que se habían quedado colgadas en el proceso. ¡Por lo menos era un motivo válido!

Por supuesto que para entonces todos los papeles de nuestro expediente se habían vencido y tuvimos que renovarlos todos. Eso demoró otros tres meses. En marzo, una vez actualizado, enviamos nuestro expediente aprobado al Ministerio de la Mujer y Desarrollo Social (MIMDES) en Perú. Luego de cinco meses acusaron recibo y dijeron que estaba casi entero traducido. Ahora tenemos un abogado encargado de nuestro caso (asignado por el ministerio) y el proceso de revisión aún no termina, pero ya nos han avisado extra-oficialmente que el 20 de octubre emitirán la carta de aprobación. A modo de resumen: primero te aprueban en Canadá, y luego en el país del que vas a adoptar. Y, no, eso no implica que te encontrarán un niño inmediatamente. Para eso deberemos esperar otros 9 a 12 meses, con suerte.

En todo caso, MIMDES nos acaba de avisar (extra-oficialmente también) que nuestros papeles están otra vez vencidos, por lo que otra vez estamos correteando por la ciudad actualizando certificados: los de antecedentes de la policía de Toronto y la policía montada, la carta de actualización de la trabajadora social, la de nuestro contador, la de la sicóloga que nos evaluó, y la de nuestro médico. Creemos que con eso bastará y esperamos tenerlas todas listas, traducidas, certificadas, notariadas, autenticadas y legalizadas de aquí a que llegue la carta oficial donde nos solicitan las actualizaciones. Esperamos poder enviarlas todas por mensajero el mismo día en que llegue la bendita carta, pero seguro habrá algún documento en la lista que no se nos ocurrió actualizar y que nos retrasará otro poco. La paciencia es una virtud que se caracteriza por ser finita.

Así que esas son las últimas noticias. A veces me encuentro con amigos que no he visto en bastante tiempo y me preguntan, “¿Y? ¿Alguna novedad con el proceso de adopción?” No quiero ser una gruñona pero odio esa pregunta. Si tuviera alguna novedad no tendrían que preguntarme - ¡ya lo habría anunciado a los cuatro vientos!

Mientras esperábamos aprobaciones y acuses de recibo pasaron muchas otras cosas; nuestras dos familias sufrieron pérdidas fuertísimas. Ha sido un año súper duro en muchos aspectos. Y mientras uno intenta procesar esos sucesos remecedores, se sacrifican las cosas menos importantes de la vida, como la contabilidad y el guardar los adornos navideños. Pero eventualmente hay que ponerse al día, y logré hacerlo días antes de arrancar el Festival Internacional de Cine de Toronto, o “TIFF”.

A veces no me doy un respiro hasta que mi cuerpo me grita “¡Basta!” Me había estado portando mal, lo sé, trabajando mucho y con mucho estrés, acostándome tarde después de tanto festejo y despertando al alba para volver a empezar todo. Me excusaba diciéndome a mí misma que TIFF es una cosa anual, que tenía que disfrutar... Sinceramente, no carreteo así el resto del año.

Pero después del quinto día consecutivo de fiesta, con cinco días más por delante, ya no lo estaba pasando tan bien. Salía porque me sentía obligada. El tiempo delicioso y veraniego se había enfriado y se sentía más como otoño: días ventosos y nublados, y noches frías y lluviosas – del tipo que te hace rebuscar en lo más profundo del clóset en busca del plumón, el que luego estiras sobre la cama y con el que te envuelves entera mientras sonríes, feliz. ¡Lo que sea con tal de evitar encender la calefacción en septiembre! Pero además salía para ver a Andrés cuyo trabajo en TIFF significa que nos vemos poco o nada hasta el 20 de septiembre. Por supuesto que ese día amanecí enferma y así me he quedado hasta ahora.

Logré evitar hacer cama hasta el jueves, aún con la tos de perro y estornudos frecuentes, pero el jueves por la mañana no tenía energía para seguir adelante y así acabé aquí, haciendo mi tercer día de cama. Debo decir, eso sí, que con la excepción de las noches, en las que toso hasta sentir una lija en la garganta, y ayer, que sentía que me salían llamas por los ojos de la fiebre, he disfrutado de estos tres días de descanso obligado. Con mi fiel compañero Lucas a mis pies he visto películas, he escrito en mi diario y he llenado tres álbumes de fotos (aprovechando de recordar los viejos tiempos). La tos era un problema, porque cuando se tose así, no se logra descansar, que es justamente lo que más se necesita hacer. Pero ayer medité un poco y me di cuenta que el toser es muchas veces una compulsión, una forma de rascarse para eliminar una picazón. Así que decidí que observaría la picazón de mi garganta y mis pulmones, que la identificaría como tal, y que respiraría para oxigenar esa área de mi cuerpo, a ver qué pasaba, como aprendí a hacer en meditación. Y funcionó: logré dormir toda la noche. Y dormí toda la mañana, pasado el mediodía. Dormí quince horas en total.

Cuando finalmente desperté, la fiebre se había apagado, la tos era manejable y mis niveles de energía habían mejorado bastante. Mi cuerpo estaba sonriendo, victorioso. Supongo que debería prestarle más atención de ahora en adelante.

Long Time, No Write!

I haven’t updated this blog in quite a while. My last fund raising post doesn’t really count, which means it’s been a year and a half since my last rumination on life and update on our journey to parenthood. You must be thinking, wow! So much must have happened! But no... just a lot of waiting, I’m afraid.

In June 2009, three months after my last post, we finished getting all the requisite papers together for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the entity in charge of approving one to adopt here in Canada. Usually it takes about 8 to 12 weeks to get that approval, but it was late November, early December when we finally got the letter we were waiting for. This was greatly due to the fact that an international adoption agency, Imagine, had gone under and the Ministry was busy helping the families who it left hanging complete their adoptions. At least they had a valid reason!

Of course by then all the papers we had submitted in our dossier were expired and we had to get new ones of everything. That took about three months. In March, with our file approved and updated, we sent it to Peru. It took another five months for it to be officially received and translated. We have a case worker now and the review process is still underway. We’ve been told that October 20 will be the date they issue the letter of approval. To summarize: first you must be approved by Canada, then by the country you are adopting from, and no, that doesn’t mean you’ll be matched right away. It will take another 9 to 12 months for that to happen, if we’re lucky!

In any regard, we just got the unofficial heads up from the Ministry in charge (MIMDES) that most of our papers are once again out of date, so here we are, scrambling again to get updates: Toronto and RCMP police checks, update letter from our adoption practitioner, from our accountant, from the psychologist who assessed us, and from our doctor. We think that should be it and we hope to have it all ready, translated, certified, notarized, authenticated and legalized by the time the letter finally arrives requesting them. We hope to be able to send them via courier the day the letter arrives, but we are sure that there will be some document we hadn’t thought of that will delay us just a bit more. Patience is really a virtue with finite qualities.

So that’s what has been going on. People I don’t see often will ask me, “so, any news on the adoption front?” I don’t mean to be a grouch, but I secretly hate this question. If I had any news, you wouldn’t have to ask me, I would have already yelled it out to the four winds!

A lot of other things happened while we were waiting; both our families suffered big losses. It’s been a tough year, what can I say. Of course, while one goes through things like the stuff we’ve been going through, less important things like bookkeeping and putting away Christmas ornaments fall by the wayside. I had a lot of catching up to do, which I finished just in time for the Toronto International Film Festival, or TIFF as it now calls itself.

Sometimes my poor body has to be the one to put its foot down for me to actually give it a break. I had been pushing it, I know; busy and often stressful days of work followed by long nights of partying and early wake-up calls. I kept telling myself, TIFF happens but once every year. Enjoy it! Honestly, I don’t party like that the rest of the year.

But I really wasn’t enjoying it much after day 5 of 10. I was going out because I had to. The lovely summer weather we had enjoyed two weeks before had changed to more fall-like windy and cloudy days, and rainy and cool nights – the kind that make you pull your duvet out from the deepest recesses of your closet, spread it out gingerly over your bed and then smile as you wrap your whole self in it. Anything to avoid turning on the heating in September! But I also wanted to see Andrés whose TIFF job meant he would be pretty tied up until September 20th. As luck would have it, I woke up sick that day and have been ever since.

I managed to avoid staying in bed until Thursday, even with a bad hack and frequent sneezing, but Thursday morning I had no energy left and that is how I ended up here, day 3 of being bedridden. However, I have to say that except for the nighttime, when I cough until my throat feels like sandpaper, and yesterday, when I had a fever that made my eyeballs feel like they were on fire, I’ve actually quite enjoyed these three days of downtime. With my faithful Lucas at my feet, I’ve watched movies, I’ve written in my journal and I’ve filled three photo albums (and took the obligatory walk down memory lane, of course)! The cough was a problem, because when you cough like that you can’t rest like you need to, but I meditated on that yesterday and realized that coughing is often a compulsion, a way to scratch an itch. So I decided I would try and observe the itch, name it, breathe through it and see what would happen, like I had learned to do in meditation. And lo! I slept through the night. And then I slept through the morning and the early afternoon. I slept a total of fifteen hours.

When I finally woke up, my fever had broken, my cough was manageable and my energy level was greatly improved. My body was smiling victorious. If only I listened to it more often.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Chile, the country I grew up in and love as my own, was hit last Saturday morning with one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded. Although construction in Santiago, its capital, was largely able to hold up to this violent quake, many towns outside of Santiago have been levelled both by the earthquake and by the tsunamis that followed shortly after. Many people are still trapped in their collapsed apartment buildings, and rescue workers have been working round the clock since Saturday in the hopes that they will be able to find as many people alive as possible. In the coastal towns, homes that stood along the beach have been swept away by the sea, some with entire families inside them. Those that remain look as if a giant tongue had licked them clean of all their contents, their roofs, their windows and their doors. Two million people have been left homeless by this disaster that also took the lives of more than 700 people.

Chileans are a proud and strong people. They've been hit before and have risen from the rubble, but they need our help this time. The Chilean embassies (, have set up a bank account for donations:

IN CANADA: Scotiabank Account Nº 400060140813

Account Name: Embassy of Chile - Earthquake Relief Fund

IN THE US: Bank of America Nº 226000255231

Account Name: Chile Earthquake Relief Fund

Your donations will feed and clothe people who have been left with nothing, they will rebuild the homes of those who lost it all and the bridges that connect rural Chile to the rest of the world, so much needed aid can be transported to them.

Please be generous.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Un nuevo camino

En mi última actualización, en septiembre del año pasado, todavía con heridas abiertas por nuestro intento fallido para tener un bebé a través de in vitro y con una madre portadora, escribí que no había descubierto nada nuevo acerca de mí misma o de mi lucha por ser madre a través de ese proceso. Por supuesto que estaba equivocada, pero uno sólo ve las cosas con nitidez cuando está preparado para dar vuelta la página. Lo que descubrí es que me había librado de esa añoranza profunda de llevar a mi hijo biológico en mi vientre, lo que sin querer me preparó para ir al siguiente paso: la adopción.

Aprendí que estoy preparada para convertirme en madre de un niño a través de amor, dedicación y mucho esfuerzo – ¡incluso burocracia! Que no necesito vomitar a diario por 3 meses, subirme varios kilos, sumar más estrías a las que ya tengo ni sentir al bebé moverse dentro de mí para sentir que un niño es hijo mío. Sí, requerirá de mucho trabajo y sí, tendremos que hacer duelo, tanto nosotros como nuestro hijo para superar las pérdidas que los tres habremos vivido para formar una familia, pero lo haremos juntos, los tres. Y Lucas también nos ayudará.

Desde mi última actualización, Andrés y yo hemos avanzado bastante en este nuevo y último capítulo de nuestra historia. Hemos asistido a seminarios, leído mucho material sobre la adopción, completado nuestra capacitación obligatoria (un curso llamado P.R.I.D.E. en inglés, que consta de 27 horas de clase); hemos reunido certificados de nacimiento, matrimonio, cambio de nombre, cartas de referencia de algunos parientes, amigos y doctores, cartas de no antecedentes policiales, huellas digitales, información financiera y estamos a la espera de los resultados de los análisis de tuberculosis y VIH/SIDA para poder completar el último formulario: el informe médico. Además nos hemos encontrado 4 veces con nuestra trabajadora social, dos de las cuales fueron reuniones individuales y la última, el sábado recién pasado, fue en nuestra casa donde le presentamos a Lucas y le hicimos el tour por la casa. No, no abrió armarios o cajones ni anduvo por la casa con un guante blanco para ver si estaba limpia. Pero nuestra querida Gloria igual vino el día antes para dejar la casa impecable, por si acaso.

En dos o tres semanas habremos completado el proceso de evaluación y estaremos listos para enviar todos nuestros papeles al Ministerio de Servicios al Menor para obtener aprobación de nuestra solicitud y comenzar la siguiente etapa: enviar el expediente al país que hemos elegido, donde dentro de aproximadamente un año encontrarán al niño que será nuestro hijo.

Paralelo al proceso de adopción internacional, armaremos un libro que acá se llama “Perfil”, en el que contaremos nuestra historia con texto y fotos para luego distribuirlo a las agencias de adopción que se lo mostrarán a mujeres embarazadas que desean hacer un plan de adopción para su hijo (nonato o recién nacido) aquí, en Ontario. Esencialmente, el minuto en que uno de estos dos procesos – internacional o local – resulte, el otro se suspenderá para ser retomado quizá en el futuro, cuando queramos adoptar un hermanito. La razón por la que estamos haciendo ambos procesos es que las adopciones locales son bastante impredecibles en cuanto a plazos, ya que es la madre biológica quien elige a la pareja y luego tiene un plazo de cerca de un mes para arrepentirse, aún cuando el bebé haya estado con nosotros desde el momento de nacer. Puede ser un proceso bastante rápido y demorar días, semanas o meses. O puede ser un proceso que nunca nos dará un hijo. Así que al solicitar una adopción internacional en paralelo estamos básicamente ampliando nuestras opciones.

De momento, el país que nos está “llamando” es Perú, el país donde nací. La suerte es que sólo se tramitan adopciones con Perú si uno de los dos padres es peruano. ¡Por fin algo bueno sale de tener ciudadanía peruana, además de mi destreza en la cocina a la hora de preparar un ceviche o pisco sour! Pero igualmente estamos estudiando otras opciones, entre las que se encuentran Rusia y Etiopía. Hablaré más de estos dos países en actualizaciones futuras del blog.

Y hasta aquí no más hemos llegado. Quería actualizar el blog para ponerlos a todos al día con el tema. Además he cambiado un poco el estilo gráfico del blog, y creo que tienen ahora la opción de inscribirse para recibir notificaciones cada vez que lo actualice. Ah, y la foto en la parte superior de la página fue tomada en 1999, por si se estaban preguntando cómo lo hacemos para vernos tan jóvenes (incluido Lucas). En ese entonces vivíamos en un departamentito tipo caja de fósforos casi esquina de Broadview con Danforth, estábamos recién casados y acabábamos de adoptar a Lucas, los tres sumidos en la dicha de nuestra ignorancia. ¡Juventud, divino tesoro!

A New Direction

Back in September, while still licking my wounds after our failed attempt at a baby through in vitro and surrogacy, I posted that I had not discovered anything new about myself or my quest for motherhood during that process. I was wrong, of course, but one only sees things clearly when one is ready to move on. What I learned is that I had let go of my deep desire to carry my biological child in my womb, thus fortuitously helping me to move on to the next step: adoption.

I learned that I am ready to become the mother of a child through love, dedication and hard work – even red tape! That I don’t need to puke my guts out for 3 months and then gain a lot of weight and stretch marks, or feel the baby move inside of me to feel that a child is my own. Yes, it will be hard work, and yes, there will be many feelings of loss both for us and for the child, but we will work through these together, the three of us. And Lucas will help too.

Since I last updated the blog, Andrés and I have done a lot towards this new and final phase of our journey. We’ve attended seminars and read a lot of literature on adoption; we’ve completed our P.R.I.D.E. training (a mandatory 27 hour course called Parenting Resources Information Development Education); we’ve gathered birth, marriage and name change certificates, letters of reference from some family members, friends and doctors, police and other law enforcement agency letters of clearance, fingerprinting, financial information, and are currently waiting for results of TB and HIV tests to hand in our final documentation: the medical report. We’ve also met 4 times with our adoption practitioner; two of those meetings were individual and the last one, this past Saturday, was at our house, where she got to meet Lucas and tour our place. No, she didn’t open cabinets or drawers and she didn’t wear a white glove to see if the place was clean. However, our beloved Gloria did come the day before and worked feverishly to leave the place spotless, just in case.

Within two or three weeks we will have a completed homestudy and will be ready to send out our paperwork to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to get approval of our dossier and begin the next stage: sending our file to the country that we have chosen, where within a year they will find the child who will be our son or daughter.

Parallel to the international adoption process, we will also put together a book, called a “Profile” that will tell our story through text and photos and will be distributed to adoption agencies that will show the book to women wanting to make adoption plans for their babies (unborn or already born) here, in Ontario. Essentially, the minute one of these two fronts – international or domestic – pans out, the other will be put on hold to maybe pick up once again in the future, when we apply for a sibling. The reason we’re doing both is that domestic adoptions are quite unpredictable in terms of timing, since it is the birth mother who picks the couple and then there is the matter of her having about a month after giving birth where she can change her mind, even after the child comes home with us. It can be a really fast process and take a few days or weeks or months. Or it can be a process that never yields a child for us. So, we’re basically hedging our bets by going abroad too.

The country that is tugging at our hearts right now is Peru, the country where I was born. Lucky for us that adoptions between Ontario and Peru are only processed if one of the two parents is Peruvian. Finally something good has come from having Peruvian citizenship, aside from my skill at preparing ceviche and pisco sours! But we’re still studying other options, among which are Russia and Ethiopia. More on this in later posts.

That’s it up to this point. Just wanted to get the blog up again. I’ve updated its “look and feel”, so now I believe you can subscribe to it if you’re interested in getting update notifications. Oh, the picture at the top right of this page was taken in 1999, in case you’re marvelling at how young we all look (including Lucas). We lived in a teensy bachelor apartment on Broadview and Danforth back then, were just married, had just adopted Lucas and lived in total blissful ignorance of hardship. Aaah, youth!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


13 de septiembre

Luego de una larga pausa, finalmente he vuelto a actualizar el blog – tres meses después de mi última actualización. Como ya sabrán, Andrés se ha recuperado completamente de su cirugía. Lo único que sirve de recordatorio de que algo haya pasado es la cicatriz que le recorre su esbelto abdomen y la mitad de pastilla que se toma cada día para prevenir la acumulación de ácido en el estómago. Se ha bajado 14 kilos en total y no se los ha vuelto a subir, lo que lo pone contento... como una recompensa por la molestia que pasó. Se ve y siente fantástico, y está comiendo y bebiendo la misma variedad de cosas que antes, sólo que con una ligera intolerancia para los fritos. ¿Qué se puede decir? Es un suertudo. No todos salen de esta cirugía con la misma suerte.

En el ámbito del proceso de in vitro, obviamente nos tomamos un largo descanso mientras él se recuperaba y mi nivel de estrés disminuía post-cirugía y la infección que lo hizo parar otra vez en el hospital en julio. Empecé a tomar una hormona llamada DHEA, en pastillas, que se toma tres veces al día por un mínimo de dos meses, lo que ayudó a aumentar mi reserva ovariana de folículos mes a mes. Seguí yendo a la clínica para ver cuántos folículos había producido el día 3 de cada ciclo. En un momento llegué a 8, pero como no había tomado las hormonas por el mínimo de meses, decidimos esperar al siguiente.

Ese ciclo llegó a fines de agosto. Sólo produje cinco folículos en un principio. Por motivos de sincronización me dieron la píldora anticonceptiva por cuatro días y luego, cuando volvieron a revisar, tenía uno más. Con esos seis folículos decidimos partir y empezaron las inyecciones.

Al comienzo del verano, los cuatro nos habíamos sentado a discutir plazos y decidimos que octubre sería nuestro plazo para que esto funcionara o cancelar el proceso. Nunca pensamos que nos quedaríamos pegados en esta etapa por tanto tiempo y no podíamos esperar que Sheona y Jon pusieran sus vidas en pausa indefinidamente mientras me aumentaban la dosis de hormonas mes a mes buscando tener mejor suerte. Y estaban por supuesto nuestros propios límites. Con tantos intentos fallidos, llega un momento en que hay que decir basta.

Al igual que con los anteriores, este ciclo no tuvo éxito. Pareciera que mientras más hormonas me inyecté para estimular mis ovarios, menos estimulados terminaban. Finalmente, el día 7 de este ciclo, el jueves recién pasado, lo cancelamos y pusimos fin al proceso. El momento de decir ‘basta’, casi dos años y medio después de haber pronunciado el concepto de maternidad gestacional como una opción, había llegado al fin. Puedo escuchar sus suspiros de alivio colectivos.

En los últimos 8 años y medio hemos vivido una gama realmente amplia de infertilidad, de pérdidas tempranas a pérdidas tardías, de aborto terapéutico a la imposibilidad de concebir, aunque fuera por in vitro. Tengo que decir que el proceso de in vitro ha sido el más agotador, el más desgarrador, el más estresante. No creo haber sacado nada positivo de él. Para toda la fortaleza y la razón que descubrí que tenía con cada una de mis pérdidas, no descubrí nada nuevo acerca de mí misma o de mi lucha por ser madre a través de este proceso. Lo único que me ha dejado es el saber que hicimos todo lo posible, y el agradable entumecimiento de la derrota, el que se siente justo antes de que afloren bruscamente los sentimientos que uno guarda en lo más profundo y las reflexiones que la mente obligadamente visita.

En muchas maneras, esta ha sido una experiencia muy pública, entre el blog y las conversaciones abiertas con amigos y hasta vecinos. Muchos de ustedes consideraban que deberíamos haber sido más privados con esto. Quizá tengan razón. Vivir el proceso así de abiertamente ciertamente aumento la presión, algo que ya teníamos de sobra. Pero por otra parte, el blog fue un lugar donde pude descargar mis emociones, y mantener a todos al tanto de las últimas, evitando así tener que contar el cuento una y otra vez. Creo que sirvió su propósito y no me arrepiento de haberlo hecho así.

En los meses venideros probablemente nos volvamos a poner de pie, nos sacudiremos el polvo de la última caída y veremos cuál será nuestro próximo paso. Lo obvio es considerar la adopción, pero esa es una aventura larga y nueva, con sus propias reglas, pros y contras. No es una para la que creo estar preparada en este instante. Habrá una multitud de sesiones de información y cursos que tomar antes de llegar a esa encrucijada.

Mientras, es siempre una buena idea descomprimirse y relajarse. Intentaremos tomar un par de viajes a alguna parte antes del fin de año y de gastar un poco de dinero en algo productivo por una vez. No hemos tomado vacaciones este año y creo que las merecemos más que nunca.


September 13

After a long silence, I am finally updating the blog – three months after my last entry. As those closest to us know, Andrés has recovered completely from his surgery. All that’s left as a reminder that anything happened is the scar that cuts across his now flat abdomen and the half a pill he takes each day to prevent acid buildup in his stomach. He lost a total of 30 pounds and has not regained them, which he welcomes as a bit of a bonus for having gone to hell and back. He looks and feels great, and he’s eating and drinking the same variety of things he did before, but with a slightly diminished tolerance for greasy food. What can I say? He is just very lucky that way. Not everyone comes out of this surgery with the same luck.

On the in vitro front, we obviously took a break while he recovered and my stress level went down post-surgery and the ensuing infection that sent him back to the hospital in July. I went on a hormone called DHEA, in pill form and taken three times a day for a minimum of two months, which helped increase my ovarian reserve of follicles month to month. I continued to go to the clinic to see how many follicles I was making on day 3 of each cycle. At one point I got up to 8, but since I had not been on the hormones for the minimum required months, we decided to wait till the next cycle.

That cycle happened at the end of August. I had only five follicles when they checked. They put me on the pill for four days for scheduling purposes and when I went to check again, I had one more follicle. With six we were good to go and the hormones started.

Back at the beginning of the summer, the four of us had sat down and decided that October would be our deadline to make this work or cancel the process. We had never thought we’d get stuck on this stage of the process for so long, and we just couldn’t expect Sheona and Jon to put their lives on hold indefinitely while they jacked up my dose of hormones month to month in hopes of better luck. And then there were our own limits. There is only so much failure one can take before you say enough.

This cycle was unsuccessful, like all the others. It seems the more stimulation drugs I’ve had to take, the less stimulated my ovaries have been. Finally, on day 7 of this cycle, just last Thursday, we canned it and called off the process entirely. We had reached our ‘enough’ moment, almost two and a half years since we had first uttered the word “surrogacy” and meant it as an option. I can hear your collective sighs of relief.

We have experienced a really full range of infertility in the last 8 and a half years, from early miscarriage, to late miscarriage, from therapeutic abortion to the inability to conceive, albeit in vitro. I have to say that the in vitro process has been the most draining, the most heart wrenching, the most stressful. I don’t think that I got anything positive from it. For all the strength and reason that I discovered I had with each of my losses, I didn’t discover anything new about myself or my quest for motherhood with this process. All I am left with is the knowledge that we left no stone unturned, and the comfortable numbness of defeat, the one you experience before the floodgates open and you start feeling again and thinking again.

This has been in many ways a very public experience, between the blog and the conversations with friends, even neighbours. Many of you thought that we should have been more private about it. Perhaps you were right. Living this process out in the open definitely added pressure that we could have done without. But on the flip side, the blog was a place where I could unload and keep everyone up to date with news, avoiding having to tell the same thing over and over again. I think it served its purpose. I have no regrets.

In the coming months we will probably get back on our feet, shake off the dust from our last fall and see what we will do next. The obvious step is adoption, but this is a new and long journey ahead with its own set of rules, pros and cons. Not one that I am ready to embark on this very moment. There will be a host of info sessions and courses before we arrive at that crossroads.

In the meantime, it’s always a good idea to decompress and chill. We’ll be trying to head out on a trip or two before the end of the year and to spend some money on something fruitful for a change. We haven’t taken a vacation this year and I think we deserve it more than ever.