Friday, February 27, 2009

Adoption order not to be overturned

Slightly old news, but I've been mulling over this, and something that the very wise Thanksgiving Mom said clicked for me, so thought I'd blog about aspects of this case. It's been rather overshadowed in the blogosphere by the octuplets - I can only find a couple of ranty journalists and some legal types who've blogged about it.

Anyway, briefly in my understanding, the couple had their three children removed at the ages of approximately 1, 3, and 5 (all under 6 at least, and the youngest was 1). There was suspicion of non-accidental injury and no other good reason for the injuries seen, at least at the time. Normally if there is no reason to think that the birth family have changed then a permanency plan should be made within about 6 months (social worker drag notwithstanding) and finding a family and placement within about a year. Commentators have said "that's so quick if nothing could be proven". No, it's not quick - it's actually SLOW for a one-year-old. That's another whole half of their entire life during which they have uncertainty and are living with a temporary family and have no clue what is happening to them.

Ideally all three children would have been placed together, and I don't know if efforts were made to do this, but groups of three children are hard to find places for, healthy under-twos are easy to do so, but some families are happy to take 2 preschool siblings, which the older two were probably just about at this stage. They were found 2 adopted homes and formally adopted. They are now legally the children of their adoptive parents - they now have different legal parents.

Now all the debate has been about how wrong this is, with the majority of opinion coming down on the side of "it was a miscarriage of justice for the parents so it should be overturned" with added "only their birth parents can possibly love them" remix.

Thanksgiving Mom's post speaks to this. She says that she cannot imagine anyone else loving her Cupcake more than she does - but she knows that Cupcake's adoptive mother will feel exactly the same.

So, legally, and I feel in the best interests of the children, the adoption orders will not be overturned. I know I have a lot of readers who will agree with this next point:

It does not matter at all what the best interests or the legal position is of either birth or adoptive parents - it is what is best for the children that matters.

My understanding is that adoption orders would only be overturned in the same sorts of circumstances as those in which a birth child would be removed from their birth parents.

In this case, the children have all been away from their birth parents for more than half their lives (if I've done my calculations correctly), and the younger two have been with their adoptive parents for more than half their lives. Moving to a different home at a young age is disruptive enough - moving back would be worse. Children do not understand the reasons behind being moved against their will (and being moved from the only parents they remember will be against their will), and however loving their "next" set of parents would be, they would still think they could be moved again, they would still feel the situation was not permanent, and they would still worry that if they were naughty they could be "sent away" again.

In an ideal world (and some enlightened commentators on some of the broadsheet versions of the story have said this, in slightly different words), the children would have face-to-face contact with the birth family. For many families where the birth parents are even somewhat more dangerous than these birth parents (at least, if the latest evidence is true - I have no reason to believe it isn't), this happens. When I say dangerous, I don't mean they are likely to physically abuse the children in the presence of a facilitating social worker or adoptive parent, I have more in mind the possibility that the birth parent will behave in a rather immature manner with inappropriate conversations, or simply failing to turn up.

It seems as if these birth parents could potentially have mature face-to-face contact, but all sides would need to be clear that the children are not going back to the birth parents, at least not until they are 18. In an ideal (given the horrible background) world it might be possible to have something approaching US-style open adoption - but this would probably only work if the birth parents could accept that this was the best (from their point of view) they were going to get. On another recent case, a researcher has commented that perhaps grandparents (and other kin who cannot have custody) need not necessarily be willing to state up front that "yes, this is the best placement for the children". But I'm not completely sure. Is it good for a child to have contact with someone who repeatedly says "you'd be better off with me, I'm your real family", when professionals have decided that is not happening?

I'll remain agnostic on that point, but perhaps my commenters won't.


After my bout of heartburn over the weekend, I've decided to give up caffeinated coffee for Lent. OK, this is a little contradictory, as I know that decaf is also supposed to cause problems due to the coffee oil, and my interim measure was to drink it milky, and I also know that milk (despite the received wisdom) is not great for heartburn either.

I'm also not in any way convinced it would make any difference to our current inability to get pregnant - as Shaz says, better to take up drinking and recreational drugs.

However, I want to make a small change, but am very sleepy today - so, hello, chai latte.

And if anyone calls it a "chai tea", I'll whack them on the head with a dictionary from basically any Asian language or one of a selection of African ones. Why not have a "caffe coffee" instead?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In which a health insurance company actually says something helpful

We have another 2 months here in the US but our health insurance is SO expensive and we have emergency cover from the UK, so Mr Spouse asked me whether I had any more upcoming appointments in March or whether it was going to be possible to cancel it.

I had the brilliant idea of calling them to ask (!) what would happen if we failed to renew, as we know that my short appointments are not that expensive out-of-pocket, but I wouldn't want to be taken off as a patient. In fact, if we wait till the end of March before paying March's bill and then call to cancel, they will actually charge us the lesser of a month's bill or the actual cost of services. Can you believe it? I was amazed.

In other news, a word to my body. This is how you are supposed to do a period:

Day 0/28: Spotting, if you absolutely have to.
Day 1: Heavy bleeding, require new tampon every 2-3 hours, large pad at night, fully able to go out of the house and stuff like that. Perhaps some Advil.
Day 2: Repeat, smaller pad at night.
Day 3: Smaller tampons, no pad at night.
Day 4-5: Spotting - liners possibly required.

This is NOT how you do it:
Days 22-24: Spotting, getting heavier.
Day 25/1: Dark blood but tampon definitely required. Also my birthday. Did I mention that? Now counting this as day 1.
Day 2: Heavier, as normal day 1.
Day 3: Sit down to breakfast out of hotel room, finish eating, feel awful, go back to hotel room, have soaked through tampon and stained jeans. Make it to convenience store for additional supplies but then lie down for rest of morning. Now afraid to stray more than 5 minutes from a loo for rest of day. Strangely almost nothing at night.
Day 4: Flow almost finished and just need liner.
Day 5: Don't even need liner.

I'm not quite sure what my body is on, but it also seems to involve heartburn, though that could be the many drinks I had to drown my sorrows at being Awfully Old, or (more worryingly) the baby aspirin.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First I was afraid, I was petrified...

OK that isn't too relevant to the post but it's been running round my head and so I thought I'd give you lovely people the chance to have an earworm too.

Well, anyway, I did survive - my first ever baby shower. We go to a wine tasting group once a month and one couple are expecting their first baby and the organiser suggested we combine the events. Not exactly something to look forward to, though I do enjoy the wine tastings, and it was pointed out to me by Mr. Spouse and others that the large number of men there meant there would be less cooing and oohing and ahing than there might have been. We knew there would be no silly games; the setup was that anyone wanting to give a gift would place it in a basket near the door and they would be opened late in the evening, probably after all the wines had been tasted and discussed. I planned to remember an urgent appointment with my pillow at that point.

Unfortunately there were a lot of wines and the gift opening ended up being about halfway through the evening - but happily the living area of the house we were in is split and I took myself away to the other area. I was at that point handed a baby (not your usual wine tasting guest, I know). This is the 8 week old baby of the friend who had several miscarriages and a very difficult pregnancy - this baby was only in the NICU for 3 days, his older brother having been in for about 10 I think. My friend is very matter of fact, just glad to have him home and happy for others to gush or not as they wish. I handed him quickly to Mr Spouse (only one person said, ooh, look, he's being a daddy) and got another glass of wine.

The most annoying person was a loud woman who was holding the baby after this and going on and on about how lovely he was and wouldn't we all like to take him home?

So thankfully I think that will also be my last baby shower, at least for the foreseeable future. As Thalia says, these are rare in the UK. The pattern in my office is for contributions to a single - solicited - gift to be sought, but no pressure (and I'm not sure we got one for the adoptive parents, which is a huge oversight), basically drop in to the office and give money if you want - the gift is usually given before the birth (though all our recent office births have been late!) in the office, in a simple five minute chat session. I think I've given money once and avoided all presentations, and no-one has complained. I've never heard of anyone having any kind of pre-baby party, though the lack of gift registers does mean new parents end up with a lot of, er, gorgeous and immensely, er, practical white lace handknit acrylic cardigans, and not many sterilisers.

In other news - hello progesterone supplements - I thought you were supposed to PREVENT spotting. Last month I had some about day 26 which a) does occasionally happen anyway (only about 1 month in 6 though) and b) I strongly suspect was related to the dye and messing around in my insides. However today is only day 24 and it's my 3rd day of spotting. I am slightly afraid that I did ovulate very very early this month (as per only hint of LH on monitor sticks) and said insides think it's time to get on with bleeding, but are being prevented. I've never ovulated that early before, but of course I am now getting Offically Very Old.

On that note, I'm going to Disneyland tomorrow.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It was like that when I found it

It wasn't me.
It fell off in my hand.
A big boy did it and ran away.

They say a bad workman blames his tools but I have concluded that my Persona meter is, indeed, not working, or at least, not working for me and not working at the moment. Ye olde trusty boobometer indicated yesterday that I have definitely, positively, ovulated this month, when I cannot say, but some time before yesterday. So forge ahead with the Prometrium.

I have discovered a very helpful truth:

Bloggers are the best, and sometimes, the only, source of accurate medical information.

Before using my new tablets, I recalled the doctor's instruction to "pierce them with a needle". A quick Google for name of medication, pessary, and needle brought up:

Barren Mare
A Little Pregnant
and, well, me - in the first 10 results. Barren Mare is first.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Colour me confused...

Am currently on CD 16. Normally I get at least a readable OPK or Persona stick on CD 15 or 16, with usually a line of maybe 3/4 the darkness of the control line on the previous day.

I had some of that nice gooey stuff from about CD9-13 (but I usually get it ridiculously early, and then in patches) and a line of maybe 1/2 control darkness on about CD12? 13? Then nothing. White as white. CM back to something not very stringy. Boobage slightly sore but no screams of agony as I take off the bra.

It's possible that my innards have gone on strike after being messed with last month but now I don't know when or whether to start the pessaries.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Well, you see...

Quick recap of the last doctor's appointment:
  • we (I say we, obviously it's me, but it affects Mr. Spouse too) can switch to Prometrium from the generic progesterone - it comes in capsules which the doctor, but not the pharmacist, said to pierce with a needle. I have about another week to work out if I need to do this. It is actually not much more expensive for us than the generic.
  • Suppositories of the blue triangular anti-ED medicine - she's not confident about trying them. This is mainly, and I appreciate this, on safety grounds. The only research with recurrent miscarriers is of a very high dose, and in conjunction with pregnancy, it is very untested and I'm happy with that decision.
  • Hysteroscopy - she doesn't think it would add anything. The most comprehensive paper I've read suggests that HSG combined with laparoscopy and US is pretty OK. You can see an anomaly with HSG but you can't tell what it is, but you need laparoscopy to tell what it is. I'm going to keep thinking about this and perhaps do something when we are back in the UK.
As I say, this leaves us with the "go away and try" instruction.

I don't know how much longer I can go on doing that. But I am also in a somewhat different position to a lot of people - I'm not sure I know of anyone (and if you are in that position please let me know how you overcame this) who has the same issues, even in a general sense.

If we want to adopt (and even adoption preparation is up to a year away), because of what happened last time we started the process, we do not want to risk another pregnancy and another miscarriage during that time. However, we are not people who definitely need treatment in order to be able to conceive, or at least people who "as far as they know" are in that position. I think this means that to avoid risk we'd have to use contraception.

Unless we are very unlucky with our adoption social worker, we aren't going to be asked to use contraception while we go through the adoption preparation process. I have heard of people in this position, but it is mainly once they have a match with a child, and for many of them they just nod and go "yes, yes" while knowing they have blocked tubes or endo or have been trying to get pregnant for 10 years without a sniff of a positive. What's mainly frowned upon is actually doing treatment while doing the preparation process.

I think they'd be a bit cross if you were subfertile and started the prep process after 2 years of trying on your own, and then had a successful pregnancy, but no child has been told they have new parents, oh no they don't, so no harm done really.

But in another sense we are slightly nearer to "needing treatment" than we were. I am no longer confident that just taking my vitamins is all the pre-pregnancy preparation I need. I would not be too happy if we were actively "trying" but I wasn't checking at least the day of my cycle and making sure I started the progesterone at some point. So we have an even sharper divide between "trying" and "not trying".

I don't know if I can switch it off - that's my problem. Last time we decided "right, go for adoption" we just thought "well, we aren't getting pregnant, so to not get pregnant we just keep doing what we're doing". Now I'm not so sure. "Trying" and "not trying" are now so different that I don't really know when, or how, to take the leap. And I'm also concerned my nerve will fail if it takes months or a year or more and I'll wheedle Mr. Spouse into "trying" again.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Phoning it in

This was the phrase that sprang to mind while watching a couple of the singers in the first gospel group singing at a very small festival my choir took part in this afternoon. I suspect they had been told "hey, we're on first, we'll run off quickly and get to watch most of the game". The other choirs looked enthusiastic as well as sounding it, and I think we did well too (despite having almost no basses, who'd have thought it??!)

It also fairly well describes my state of mind in the last couple of weeks. We aren't due to fly home till mid-April but I keep catching myself thinking it's imminent - and therefore it's not worth doing X, Y or Z.

After my last doctor's appointment, I had a nice post planned about causality, but have found myself in a CBA-ness state. So I haven't.

Over the last year, I've approached CD1 mainly with a sense of resignation, but most doctor's appointments with something like enthusiasm. However, this month for some reason I was feeling the opposite - our timing had been good, I was using the progesterone, and if anything had been blocking my tubes it isn't now. Of course I was disappointed. And my appointment wasn't much better either.

I've had I think two, maybe three, other "well, just go away and try again" appointments. Two of them were within a month
or two of a pregnancy - when although "at least you can get pregnant" sounds very hollow, it doesn't sound impossible that it will happen again. Now all the RE could say was "are you sure you don't want to do IVF?"

There was a tiny bit more, but as I say, I'm phoning it in.