8 Years Ago Today. . .

8 Years Ago

As I have sat here the past few weeks leading up to this week I decided instead of writing a letter to my daughter or just another post on how I am feeling about everything since it has been 8 years.  This year I am going to write about the day I signed the papers and left the hospital.  I haven’t written this post yet because out of the whole experience this was and still is the hardest part of the situation.

I find this day as the hardest because it was the day that I had to admit that I couldn’t do it and that she was going to better with the family I chose for her than she would be with me.  I am pretty sure that unless you know who I am personally you don’t know that I hate to admit that I can’t do something.  So for me the hardest part was signing the papers and handing her off to her family.

 While I was pregnant I didn’t think I wanted to even see her and I thought there was no way that I could do what they call a “direct placement”.  All that means is that I hand her off her to her family and then I leave instead of what some people do where they just leave the baby in the bassinet and walk away.

I am not going to go into much detail about the days that let up to the 9th but I am sure in time I will talk about those as well.  I remember like it was yesterday my social working coming into my hospital room on the 9th bright and early and asking me if I was ready to sign the papers.  I told her yes and she went out and grabbed two nurses because there had to be two witnesses and I started signing the papers.  I remember getting to the final papers where I relinquish my rights and thinking to hurry and sign it because if I didn’t I didn’t know if I would be able to.

After I signed the paper the brought in my daughter and I held her for about an hour before the family came into my room to see her and talk to us.  I remember we were all talking and then the mood changed for me.  I am not sure why it changed but I realized that my time was coming to an end and I just started crying.  My worker then knew it was time for the placement to happen so I handed her off her adoptive dad and just cried.  At that point my social worker had them leave the room and I left the hospital about 30 mins or so later.

Even as I type this I am tearing up because my heart is still broken and I know there is no way to fix it.  That being said I don’t regret the choices I made because I know without a doubt that she was meant to be in their family and not meant for me.  The emotions are still raw when it comes to placement day and it is something I never want to go through again.  That is all there is to this post because this post was more for me than anyone else.

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One Year Later

I can’t believe that is has been a year since Melissa passed away.  Today is the day that she official died and to be honest it is still as raw as it was a year ago.  I have tried to write this post for weeks and since I can’t seem to write it I am going to leave links to where you can read some of her writing.

Here is a post where people wrote some memories of her and I post it on my blog.  Also she was a regular guest poster on my blog and you can see those post here or here.  Also here is her obituary if anyone wants to read it or see it.

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Healing

My best friend, okay she is more like a sister, had her baby on May 25.  I haven’t set foot in labor and delivery since I had and placed my daughter for adoption almost 7 years ago.  I that being there for her was going to be hard and it was going to bring emotions to the top that I hadn’t dealt with.  What I didn’t realize at the time was how healing it was going to be for me to be there with her and the baby.

After I got off of work I headed to the hospital and right when I pulled into the parking lot I broke down and started to cry.  I had to sit in my cry for a few minutes because the last thing she needed was to see me crying when see was in labor.  After I few minutes I got it together and I went into the hospital.  I didn’t really know where to be so I just stayed in the hall right outside the room she was in.

After she had him and we all came in the room and they asked me if I wanted to hold him all I could do was shake my head no.  My eyes filled up with tears and it was all I could do to keep from leaving the room.  To be honest in that minute I didn’t know if I would even hold him while he was in the hospital.  Every time I thought about holding him it brought all the emotions I had pushed to the background and hadn’t dealt with.

After they got her up to her postpartum room and her boyfriend left so he could run home and do a few things I stayed so that she wouldn’t have to be alone.  I didn’t want her to be alone because I know when I had my daughter it was hard to be in the hospital all alone.  After it was just the 3 of us I knew it was time to hold him and start to deal with the emotions.

After I held him for a little bit I realized that he did something for me that I didn’t know he could.  I can’t put into words what he did but he healed a part of me that I thought would always be broken.  He is so special to me because he will never know what he did for me and that is okay but he will always be a huge part of my life.

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MS Tuesday-Depression & Anxiety

I am going to talk about depression and anxiety which are two  Multiple Sclerosis symptoms that have be living with for the past couple of years.  Growing up never had an issue with anxiety and what issue I did have with depression I was able to control and I didn’t have to take medication for it.

About two years ago I had to get on medication for depression because I literally could barely function at work and I was always on edge.  After I started the medication it helped but I noticed I could no longer handle things that I used to love to do.

For example I have always loved being alone.  My grandparents went on a cruise for 10 days last month and I was so anxious because I was home alone most of the time.  The day after they left I literally sat in my room because I was so anxious.  I also found myself checking the door locks a hundred times where as when they are home I never check them unless I have to get up and let one of the cats in.

I believe that in my case my depression and anxiety are cause by the MS.  I know that not everyone with MS will have both of these symptoms and that some people who have these symptoms but not have MS.

Before I started on Tysabri when I would have MRI’s to check and see what the disease was doing I always had active lesions but I rarely had any symptoms.  I believe that while I at the time didn’t show any outward symptoms that those active lesions are what caused my anxiety and depression issues that I currently struggle with.

Right now I take Zoloft for the depression and I don’t treat the anxiety because I have learned how to talk myself through it.  I also have found that removing myself from the situation that is causing the anxiety is a great way for me to cope with it as well.

I received the book called “It’s Not All in Your Head: Anxiety, Depression, Mood Swings, and Multiple Sclerosis” by Patricia Farrell.  I can’t remember the site where I was signed up and got the book for free but from the little bit of it that I have read it can’t wait to read more of it.

I would recommend the book to anyone with MS or anyone that has a family member or friend with MS.  Once I am finished with it I will for sure write a review and I think I will give it away to someone with MS.

In the end I want people to know that is you have developed anxiety or depression that you aren’t alone and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  At first it was hard for me to ask the doctor about it and start the medication but the more I learn about MS and what it can cause I understand why I have had to go on medication.

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My MS Meds

I am not sure if anyone would be interested in the medications I currently on for my MS but I am sure there is someone who would be interested to know what is working for me right now and all the things I have tried that hasn’t work for me over the 11 years I have be treating the MS.  For this post I am going to talk about the medications I am currently on and what I am taking them for.

Tysabri-I am currently using this to treat the MS.  I have been on it for over 3 years now and even though it is dangerous I won’t stop taking it because it is the only MS drug that is out there right now that is controlling the MS.

Baclofen- I take this three times a day.  There are some days that I may only take it once but depending on pain & how I am feeling I may take it all 3 times.  I use this for the spasms I have and I also use this because of my back injury.  If I don’t take this at night I wake up stiff in the morning and in tons of pain.

Zoloft(sertraline)-I take this once a day and it is my antidepressant.  Depression runs in my family but I also think that the MS has made mine worse and also made me super anxious.

Loritab- I use this as needed for pain.  I get 20 pills a month and I usually use them all but  most of them are use the weekend and week after my infusion because that is when I tend to have the most pain.

Fiorinal- I use this for my migraines.  I have had migraines since I was in 5th grade.  Most of the time if I can catch it at the beginning I can stop it from getting super bad but on days that I don’t catch it or it doesn’t respond to the usual things I have to take 2 of these.  The thing I love about this medication is I can still function at work while I am taking it.

I also use things such as Benadryl, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen almost daily.  If you have any questions about any of the medications please let me know.  Next time I am going to write about what MS treatments I have used and why I stopped using them.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Margaret Margaret

Ways to Cope With Placing Your Child For Adoption

I placed my daughter for adoption in July of 2005.   I attend a support group for unwed mothers that the agency I was going to had.  Not everyone in the group was placing for adoption but I learned so much from the girls that have placed and listening to what worked and didn’t work for them.  I figured that I would share some of the things that worked for me and things that may work for other birth parents.

Before I get into them I was researching some things on adoption and I found this article.  While I reading through article I found this paragraph and I really liked what it said.  I am going to post it here because I think it speaks volumes about how birth parents are looked at by people who don’t understand are choices.  Here is the paragraph:

Most people at some time in their lives experience grief when they are separated from a loved one. However, in adoption, there are no standard grieving processes or approved rituals to help birthparents cope. When a well-liked co-worker accepts a new job in a new city, there is often a going away party. When a loved one dies, there may be a religious service, a wake, a funeral, and visits to the survivors’ home by friends and relatives. But birthparents’ grief is distinct from most other types of grief, because it is not always socially acceptable to talk about what happened.

Now on to the ways I coped and ways that others have coped with the greif.

  • Journal-I wrote out why I placed her in a journal that I then gave to the adoptive mom to give to my daughter when they thought she was ready to read it.
  • Talk to other birth moms-It helped me tons to be able to talk to other girls who had been though it and could tell me that it would get better with time.  I never thought the first year would end but each year it gets easier at least it has for me.
  • Take one day at at time-There are time where You are going to have to take it minute by minute but know that time will heal the pain.  At first the pain is so raw that it is all you can think about but it does get easier I promise.
  • Build a support system-I helps to have people who know the whole story and whither or not they agree with your choice they will still stand behind you and listen to you talk.  There will be times that just talking to someone and having them not try to answer but just listen helps so much.  It makes such a difference to just get the thoughts out of you head and have someone not feel the need to try and make it better but just listen.
  • Allow yourself to feel the emotions-I know in the beginning I wanted to run from the emotions I was feeling and not feel anything but by doing that you are going to be making it harder in the long run.  Allow yourself to feel and grieve.
  • Keep Scrapbooks and/or pictures around-If you were to walk into my room right now the only pictures I have up are the ones of her when she is older.  In the beginning looking at the pictures made me feel better but after the first year and even know it is so hard for me to look at the pictures of her while we were in the hospital because I want the baby.  I heard from one of the girls in the support group that her child became two different people in her head even though she knew they were the same.  She like me wanted the baby and not the child that she is now.
  • If you need help ask-Don’t be too afraid to talk to a counselor if you are having a hard time deal with all of the emotions.  I saw one quite awhile after I placed my daughter and that helped me so much.

When I think of more ways I am for sure going to post them and if you know of any other ways to cope please leave a comment so that I can add it to my next post.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Margaret Margaret

You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me

Some of you will know that I love music.  I always have it on at work in the background and I usually have it on at night when I am designing or surfing the web.  I always seem to have songs for everything that I have gone through or are going through.  When I was pregnant the song “Welcome To My Life” by Simple Plan was how I was feeling.  Every time I hear that song now it brings back all of the memories and feelings I had when I found out I was pregnant.

Right now the song that describes how I am feeling is by Cher from the movie “Burlesque”.  It is called “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me”.

I love this song right now because I feel defeated.  There is a lot going on right now that I won’t get into but this song says how I feel right now.  Like the song says you haven’t seen the last of me.  I will get through everything that is going on and I will come out on top!

Do you have songs that explain certain parts of your life?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Margaret Margaret

Letter To Brita

This post was originally posted last year during National Adoption Month.  I have updated it and I feel that this can still help other birth mom’s out there.

I had another post scheduled for today but after reading some blogs by couples are looking to adopt and watching a music video I knew in my heart that I needed to post this.  As I am writing this I am crying but it is something that I hope will help heal me in time.

It is national adoption month and it has hit me hard.  I have found blogs of great couples looking to adopted and I can’t help but get sad when I read them.  I feel so bad for them and yet it brings my own pain of being a birth mom up again.  It is something I haven’t totally dealt with because it hurts and no one likes to hurt.  I can’t believe my daughter is 6.  Right now it seems like just yesterday and I placed her for adoption.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Brita,

I can’t believe you are already 6 years old.  I remember like it were yesterday being pregnant with you and you pushing your feet so hard in my side that I would push it back and you would push even harder.  I remember the months of being sick while I was pregnant and finding out who where true friends and who weren’t.  I can remember going into labor and not wanting to be because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet.  I knew once you were born I was going to have to say goodbye and I didn’t know  how I was going to make it through saying goodbye.  I can remember watching you with your parents and know I was making the right choice but that didn’t make it hurt any less.  I can remember handing you to your dad and them walking out with you in their arms.  I remember the pain but I also know that it was the right option for you.  If I could go through it all again I would because I know without a doubt that You are where you are supposed to be.  I hope you grow up happy.  I would say and loved but I know they love you with all their hearts.  I hope you never doubt the love I have for you.  I will always love you no matter what you do.  I placed you because I knew I couldn’t give you what you deserved in life.  You deserve so much more than I could ever give you!  I know you will do great things in life and that is why I placed you.  In closing know that I love you and miss you everyday!!!!

Love,
Margaret

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I Wish Mine Was Happy

Some of you may know that my best friend is pregnant with her first baby.  I am so excited for her and happy that she is finally getting the family she has wanted for so long so please don’t take this post the wrong way.  When I see how happy she is I wish I could have felt that happiness when I was pregnant.  From the moment I found out I was pregnant I knew that she wasn’t meant for me and that I was going to place her for adoption.  I never got to be excited that I was pregnant.  I see women that are so excited and I wish that my pregnancy could have been like that.  I was so sad the whole time because I knew what the end out come as going to be.  It is hard to explain what it is like being pregnant and knowing that after you give birth that you are going to walk away and place your child with another family.  I also wonder if it would be harder to place a child for adoption if you didn’t know from the start that is what you were going to do.  I don’t regret placing her for adoption but I wish things were different while I was pregnant.

I have been thinking about volunteering to help out other birth moms that have placed their children or are going to be placing them.   While I was pregnant I attended a support group that was held at the agency I went through.  I went through a agency that is run by a church and I think there need to be more groups for birth moms to go.  I know that some people wouldn’t be comfortable attending the group I did because of the ties to the church.  I just see such a need for birth moms to have a place to go and take to others who know how they feel.

People see how I am now and get frustrated because they aren’t were I am.  What they don’t understand is my daughter is now 6 years old and I have had people to talk to about it all.  Now that being said people don’t know that I can’t look at her baby pictures because they make me cry.  I have her pictures when she is older framed and on my walls but I can’t bring out her baby pictures because they make me sad.  I am sorry this post is all over but I have been thinking a lot about adoption lately and I hope I can find a way to help other birth moms.

Grief-Melissa

I was going through my archives looking for a post to post about Melissa and I found this post.  I am not sure where it came from or why I had it as a draft and never published it.  I actually think she posted it on her blog but I know that we all can learn something for her while we are mourning her passing.

Grief Has Taught Me A Few Things

Until I began experiencing grief as a result of dad’s death, I never realized anything could feel as emotionally and physically painful as depression. In fact, they have felt so similar that I became confused, and had a difficult time distinguishing the difference between the two. At one point, I even convinced myself that I was heading toward a depressive episode.
I went to my psychiatrist, thinking she was going to raise the dosage of my depression medication, because of how badly I was feeling. Instead, she told me what I was feeling was normal grief, and while it hurt just as badly as depression does, it was not the same thing. She told me to be patient. She told me the worst of what I was feeling would pass in a few weeks. She was right.
She did give me a word of warning, telling me that with my history of depression I would have a greater chance of my grief turning into a depressive episode. Her solution was not to raise my medication dosage, but instead watch me a little more closely than usual.
Now that the pain of dad’s loss is not so intense, I can see the wisdom in what she said. I can also identify some of the differences between grief and depression, as well as acknowledge that I have learned a few things from this experience.
Both grief and depression include symptoms of sadness, tearfulness, disturbances in sleep, decreased socialization, and changes in appetite. In most cases, that is where the similarities end. Usually, after the first two to three weeks of the grieving process the person is – in most cases – able to carry out most of the obligations and activities that come with daily living. However, a person with severe depression will lack the ability to function for many weeks, months, and in some cases years. In addition, early morning awakening is more common in depression.
One of the biggest differences I have noticed between depression and grief is what my mind has focused on. During my severe major depressive episode I spent a lot of time thinking about myself – in a self negating way. Some of my thoughts during that time were that I was “worth nothing”, “a burden”, and “unlovable”. Nothing could penetrate my thoughts of despair, and my inability to have hope. Eventually, the only option I felt was left to me was suicide. In my grieving process, I have been in emotional pain, but there have been no feelings of despair or hopelessness. Nor have I had any negative thoughts about myself or suicidal thoughts.
There is no question that feelings of loss and sadness are a significant part of grief, however, those feelings are distinctly different than feelings of loss and sadness in someone with depression. A person with depression will usually experience a constant and overwhelming feeling of sadness, while someone grieving typically experiences sadness in “waves”. Most of the time, it is in response to some reminder of their loved one.
For me, these painful memories of dad are paired with positive feelings and memories. For example, when I began the process of trying to organize things in the garage I became overwhelmed with grief. Dad’s death was the reason I was having to organize the garage, and get things ready to move. That hurt. I sat down and cried for an hour. When I was able to calm down enough to get back to work one of the first things I found was dad’s coonskin hat. So in the middle of that emotional pain I found something to laugh about. During my depressive episode finding that hat certainly would not have made me laugh, in reality it probably would have caused me to cry even more.
While there have been plenty of times when I have wanted to be alone in my grief, I have noticed that I have not gone to the extremes I did during my depressive episode to isolate myself. I have maintained social contacts, and even reached out to friends and family when I felt overwhelmed by my grief. I have allowed myself to be consoled, something that would have been impossible if what I had been feeling was depression symptoms.
I still miss dad, and I know I always will, but at least I have a professional sport team, my mother, real friends, and online friends to help me through my grieving process.
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