Turns out the medication change really didn’t work for me. I was in bed lying flat for over a week (even sitting up in bed was too much), vomiting round the clock, dizziness (yes, even lying down). . . I won’t bore you with all the side effects I suffered, suffice it to say that a glance at the list of possible side effects reveals that barring convulsions, tremors, hallucinations, and altered –ahem- bedroom responses I had every one on the list. (All this from the medication considered safer for me to be on [i.e. for the baby’s sake] in the second half of pregnancy) My husband got me an emergency appointment with our GP on Monday and he advised discontinuing the medication immediately. And boy am I feeling better! 48 hours from my last dose I feel like a completely different person, the side effects are fading and the withdrawal symptoms (yup, ironically I’m getting those, too) are nothing compared to what I was going through last week. I’m seeing the midwife at lunch time for a check up in that department. I can’t help but worry whether this will have had an effect on the baby, my doctor listened to the heartbeat on Monday – to everyone’s relief this was normal. I’m having a scan on Friday.
I certainly need to be feeling better as my husband is having a biopsy on a lesion on his shin this afternoon – I need to be able to drive him back from hospital (thankfully I am now well enough for that). The suspicion is that he has a very slow growing cancer on his shin – they have reassured us that it is very slow growing (something that is quite clear to us, too, as it has barely changed in the 2+ years I’ve been aware of it), and that treatment would consist solely of excising it. We don’t know how soon we will get the biopsy results, but I am so grateful that this is being taken seriously and checked out properly. As I said, I’ve been aware of it for over 2 years – at first I thought maybe it was a bite on a freckle, it has had the look of something that wasn’t quite right without being obviously wrong. Finally, I managed to convince Simon to point it out to the nurse at a blood pressure check, she sent him to the doctor for both his blood pressure and the “thing”, and he promptly referred him to a dermatologist. Dermatologist brought in a colleague for a second opinion, and three short weeks later here we are.
As if all this weren’t enough for one week, yesterday was the funeral of Simon’s birth father. It was a manageable couple of hours car journey from here and Simon wanted to go. I was determined to go with him to support him and thankfully as the day progressed I got stronger. It was a deeply strange situation. Simon’s birth father was married to someone else with whom he had three children while having an affair with Simon’s birth mother. The affair resulted in two living children, Simon being the younger, who were fostered at birth into different families, then later adopted by their foster families. Simon and his brother both grew up without knowing of the other’s existence. All five of the children are very close in age. Many years later, after a divorce, Simon’s birth father married his birth mother. Simon and his brother had both only met one of their half-siblings. Other than Simon’s birth brother I had never met any of the birth relatives including his mother and father. Simon’s birth brother travelled from abroad to attend the funeral. It was a strangely surreal experience. I was sitting in the church thinking how weird it was that I am carrying in my womb the grandchild of the man in the coffin whom I had never met and whose photo I was seeing for the first time. After the funeral I met Simon’s birth mother for the first time (very ill and weak, she is in a nursing home and now we know where she is Simon has plans to visit her). We also got to meet the half-brothers and sisters, the birth father’s legitimate family. They were warm, welcoming and curious – nothing like the reception we’d imagined – and we all went out together to get to know each other. They’d grown up knowing their father was having an affair – you can imagine the damage and pain that was caused. In many ways Simon’s childhood was happier and more stable than theirs. It was a fascinating and strange afternoon. One of the astounding facts I learnt about my husband’s birth family was that his birth father’s mother was born and brought up just down the road from where we are now living!
Well, that was a huge long update, and I’m hoping the rest of the week will be quiet. More holiday photos of the Outer Hebrides coming soon. . .
I’m delighted to be able to tell you all that after six and a half years of praying and hoping and trying for a baby, I’m pregnant! Praise the Lord! It is still really early days (about 6 weeks), and I have taken umpteen pregnancy tests. I’d never ever even had a positive pregnancy test before. God does indeed work in mysterious and miraculous ways.
The first indication I had that I was pregnant was when I got a sudden stabbing pain low in my abdomen as I was making lunch one day (about 3 weeks ago). I was so acute I couldn’t straighten up properly and yet at the same time I wanted to laugh. Of course, laughing just made it hurt more but I still couldn’t stop! I knew then that something special was going on.
We had been hoping to be at panel for our adoption application in July, but that is now an absolute no-go. Our social worker has been really nice about all this and is coming round to see us next week to talk about the potential of our being able to apply again in a few years time.
I’m off for an afternoon nap now – I’m finding it impossible to stay awake all day. Other than the tiredness and an overactive bladder I feel fine. (and Simon has a constant grin on his face!)
Our social worker is finally interviewing our referees. We may be at panel in April. To say things are moving slowly is a bit of an understatement, but at least they are moving. . .
Our social worker’s line-manager contacted us last week to say that our social worker is ill – she has had a minor op and recovery has not gone as well as predicted – she will be off until the end of this month (at least). While this is definitely not good news (and we do feel sorry for our social worker who is very nice) it is a relief to know where we are as we had realised that something was not right. We had hoped that we would be at panel in February, that is certainly no longer a possibility. There is only one panel (panel decides whether to approve for adoption or not) a month, so all this represents a considerable delay. Originally we had hoped to be through panel before the end of last year, so things really are moving slowly. We signed our formal application in March ’07, and according to government guidelines panel should be within 8 months of that, so we are feeling a little frustrated.
We saw our Adoption social worker on Thursday and handed over the 5,000+ words we have already written towards our application (covering our relationship, lifestyle, support, parenting capacity, other adults in the home, fertility issues). We both still have to complete and hand in the sections we have to write as individuals: about our childhoods, life history up to when we met each other, and who we are now. We plan to have all this with our social worker by the end of this month.
I was confused about what happened with all this written bumf – I thought it was read by each member of the decision making panel. Apparently what actually happens is that our poor social worker has to write a synopsis of it all and pass that on, and what we’ve written stays in our file. I am reassured that we are getting nearer the end of the written work.
Simon and I are still working on the huge amount of written work to do for our adoption application – we have set ourselves a goal of the end of the month to complete this (not sure quite how realistic this is, but we are certainly trying for it). We had a glorious evening out last night, though – we went to see a production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (for those keeping count: yes, that is two Monday evenings out in a row, we are a bit feast or famine here with these things!). It was a very wet, dark evening, and we actually toyed with the idea of not going after all, but happily we did go and both really enjoyed ourselves.
I’m still knitting red squares for the Children’s Society’s “big stitch” campaign. I am currently on my third (my aim was to complete one!), my knitting is still slightly wonky but improving with each square!
- Q: How do you eat an elephant?
- A: One bite at a time.
We had another interview with our adoption social worker yesterday. She is so positive and reassuring, and we really do need that at the moment since we are struggling with the huge, gigantic amount of writing up we have to do. Everything from our life history to our understanding of child development, from our finances to our attitudes to gender roles, from what we argue about to how we show affection to each other, all has to be written up. Mammoth task. Aaargh. Even the dog has a three page questionnaire (training, role in household, toilet habits, worming, etc). We also have to do an “eco map” showing details of our support networks (from friends and family to professional organizations such as doctor, adoption agency) and what support/help we could get from each. It does all seem terribly daunting, but we are plodding along slowly, one bite of the elephant at a time.