Friday, May 24, 2013

The Oncoming Disaster of My Sister's Wedding

Readers, please forgive this excursion into (mostly) non-infertility-related terrain.

My sister's wedding is rapidly approaching, and I am having a really, really hard time with it. Her fiancé, well, the best way to put it is that he's really not a functional adult. At age 36, he cannot cook, nor organize his day, nor pack a suitcase in under three hours, nor arrive anywhere within twenty minutes of when he said. He recently took a job on the opposite coast from where they lived. She quit her job and followed him, only to have him fall apart from the stress of his new job. (Not that she told me any of this--I heard it from my parents.) I don't want to reveal too much about his career, but suffice to say that it's close enough to my own field of work that I can say with confidence that although it is stressful, it is hardly neurosurgery. He works 80-100 hours a week because he compulsively re-does work he's already done. He interrupts her work in the middle of the day so that she can come to his office and help him with the work he is too stressed to do himself. I called her on Easter Sunday, and she was by herself, because of course, John* was working.

I don't want my sister marrying this man. The fact that he cannot handle his more-stressful-than-average-but-a-long-way-from-neurosurgery job does not bode well for their future. What on earth is going to happen if she has two children, a husband who works 100 hours a week, and no one to help her with the cooking, cleaning, or childcare, because he doesn't have the practical skills to give the kids a bath?

And then there's the issue of faith. Now, I'm not one to throw stones at someone leaving their religion of origin. (DH and I go to an Episcopal church together; we were married in that church.) But I also don't appreciate slanders either of my religion of origin or my adopted religion. Her fiancé refused to get married in a Catholic church because it "would be a betrayal of everything [he] believe[s] in." My sister refused to get married in a Quaker church because "the service makes [her] uncomfortable." So they hatched this plan to have our agnostic uncle get ordained over the internet in the Universal Life Church and cobble together some Catholic-feeling service with my help. I told my mother that I would not participate in cannibalizing the Catholic wedding liturgy to put together a fraud service, led by a fraud clergyman from a fraud church.

Luckily, my dad put his foot down (he who pays the piper, and all), and he and my mom dredged up an Episcopalian minister who's willing to officiate at their wedding despite the fact that no one in the family (except me, I suppose) has any connection to The Episcopal Church, nor do the bride and groom have any plans to worship at an Episcopal Church once they get married. So they are borrowing a faith tradition to plaster some legitimacy on their wedding without any plans to commit to that tradition long term.

But even this Episcopal wedding is not set. The latest development is that John has suddenly (well, this is the first I've heard of it) decided that he doesn't believe in the Trinity, and banned his mother from singing Mozart's Laudate Dominum  at the service, because it ends with the Glory Be. In Latin, a language he neither reads nor understands.

Um, have you looked at the Book of Common Prayer wedding liturgy? It is replete with references to the Trinity. I understand not being able to make a vow "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" if you don't believe in the Trinity, but he has a problem with anyone praying to the Trinity at his wedding? Have I mentioned that their wedding is SIX WEEKS AWAY?????

So I emailed my sister, and pointed out the obvious problem with asking an Episcopalian priest to remove references to the Trinity from the BCP wedding liturgy. Her response? "Thanks for the info!"

In my (many) fights with my mother about unwillingness to help with the ceremony, my insufficient happiness, and my "rigidity" and "rule-obsession" I have the impression that my sister's wedding is more important to her than my sister's marriage. Having her family and friends, reunited in her hometown from all over the world has become the most important thing for her. The fact that the bride and groom have not sorted through their conflicting values enough to decide on an officiant and a ceremony, six weeks before the blessed event should give her pause, but it doesn't. I almost think that she would prefer that the wedding go on as planned, and that my sister just get a divorce later, if John doesn't turn out to be the one.

I almost wonder if my sister is planning not to tell John that they have to use Trinitarian references, and then present it as a fait accompli at the rehearsal. Yes, deceit will make a lovely beginning to their life as husband and wife.

My poor father seems to be alone on this. He doesn't like it, but he feels that standing in the way of the wedding will harm his relationship with my sister. I have encouraged him to keep on top of my sister and to make sure that she and John go for their canonically-required premarital counseling sessions at an Episcopal church where they live. If this officiant is going to fall through, either because John will suddenly decide that some priest he's never met should not have authority over his relationship, or because John will refuse to have the Trinity mentioned at his wedding, then my parents need to know ASAP.

For my part, I have wondered if my sister is closing her eyes to the obvious fact that she will have to take care of this man for the rest of her life because of my infertility. Surely the fact that I have had trouble getting pregnant, the fact that two of our aunts suffered the same fate, surely this history has impacted her. Perhaps she's afraid that if she leaves John, she'll miss out of having her own children the way I have. And the thing is, she might be right.

*name changed, obviously

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Let the paperwork commence!

I so should not be posting this when I'm supposed to be working....but a big fat envelope arrived in our mailbox yesterday. We passed the initial screening and the agency sent us the extended application!

DH and I spent an hour on the short answers for the questionnaire last night. We didn't even start on the essay questions, and we're not even done with the short answers.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Expecting--just a little bit

One of the hardest things about infertility is the lack of social acknowledgement. When someone announces a pregnancy, communities respond with heartfelt congratulations, with showers. My friends tell me that when they are visibly pregnant, strangers smile and offer congratulations.

Infertility, in contrast, is surrounded by silence. When I first told my friends and family, I got lots of sympathy and offers of prayers. But when the period of TTC stretches from months into years, people follow my lead. And since I never seem to want to talk about it, my friends never bring it up.

After years of silence, I was unprepared for the following:

My distant uncle and his wife were in our city were business. They had missed our wedding and wanted to meet DH, so after work, we headed over to their hotel for drinks. After an hours or two of chitchat, my aunt asked, "So, I was so happy to read in your Thank You card that you guys are saving for adoption! How's that going?"

So I told her that the very next day, we were going to send in the initial application form. My aunt and uncle both beamed and said, "Congratulations! We are so excited for you!"

I was completely caught off-guard by this. I am so used to disappointment and its attendant silence, that I couldn't believe someone was actually congratulating us on our plans to build our family.

I know that adoption is not a sure thing for us, and I know that there are probably many more plunges of the roller-coaster in our future, but I couldn't help but think that DH and I are slightly, just a little bit...expecting.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wishful Thinking Freakout, or WTF

You might NOT be pregnant if you experience:

-Sore breasts
-Abdominal cramping
-Nipple twinges
-Frequent urination
-Slight, sudden onset incontinence
-bleeding gums
-queasiness in the mornings
-increased hunger
-a post-ovulation rise in BBT
-A late period

These are all symptoms of a condition known as Wishful Thinking Freakout (WTF). Although WTF is rare among the fertile, it occurs all too frequently among the infertile. WTF symptoms flare as the menstrual period approaches and become acute if a menstrual period is late.

 If you are experiencing WTF, do NOT take a home pregnancy test. Do NOT call your doctor.

WTF has no cure, though certain life-style techniques can help manage the symptoms, including copious amounts of chocolate and wine.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Overdue Adoption Update

I'm about a month overdue on my monthly adoption update. Here's the short story:

Even though Agency #1 had stolen my heart a long time ago, I called Agency #2 just to do my due diligence. It didn't go nearly as well. Even though DH is below their age limit, I was informed that he is probably too old and that a bmom would be unlikely to place with us. They also have a three year marriage requirement, but since their website said that they could make exceptions to this rule, I decided to call anyway. The director said she would have to check with her boss, then never called me back.

Even though I never had my heart set on Agency #2, this was quite upsetting. All I could hear was, "You guys aren't good enough to adopt."

Still, Agency #1 was looking better and better. A couple of weeks ago, DH and I sent in the initial inquiry form. If we pass that screening, they'll send us the long, scary application. If we are accepted, we get invited to an orientation and THEN we get put on the "Available Families" list to wait for a bmom to choose us.

So, after two short months, my adoption updates are now at an end. We will be filling out the paperwork as it comes to us.

I've been having quite a bit of anxiety over this. Whereas before, I was stressed and sad about my body stubbornly refusing to get pregnant, now I'm stressed that these people in [City] will decide that we are unfit parents and reject us.

They say that adoption is no quick fix for infertility. They say that adoption is its own rollercoaster.

Dammit, they were right.