Monday, July 29, 2013

No Matter What

Today Baby Girl went in to the neomed clinic for the last time.  18 months was the final visit since this was the visit we have been waiting for.  Prior to 18 months any Hep C testing is not considered accurate thus the waiting.  We did not preliminary testing which is not considered accurate before I began breast feeding without a nipple shield.  That test was negative.

The Department of Veteran Affairs reports that it is less then a 5% chance a mother can pass Hep C onto her child though if the Mother is HIV positive the chance increases.  There are treatments but not cures for Hep C though some people are able to "clear" the virus on their own.  If a person "clears" the virus they will still have the antibodies however the antibodies do not prevent a reinfection if they are reexposed to the virus.

The Department of Veteran Affairs also reports that half of people with Hep C are asymptomatic meaning they have the disease and do not know it.  That is why the CDC is recommending that all adults born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for Hep C as they are 5 times more likely then any other adult to be infected with 75% of adults with Hep C were born during these years.  The CDC reports that it is not clear as to why this generation has such a high risk for Hep C.

The VA reports that out of 100 people with Hep C 15% will clear the virus while 85% will remain infected.  Of the 85% that remain infected 17 of those will go on to develop liver cirrhosis and 2 will develop liver cancer.  There currently are two drugs that treat the symptoms of Hep C and slow the damage to the liver though they do not cure the Hep C.  Those with Hep C are encouraged to eat a healthy diet and avoid alcohol.

The risk of transmission of Hep C is low with the use of standard precautions.  This means that if one has a cut it is advised that it is cleaned and kept covered.  It is encouraged that you do not share personal items such as razors or toothbrushes as they can cause micro-cuts in your gums/skin and pass it onto someone you were to share with.  We were told by our doctor that with good handwashing after being exposed to Baby Girls blood we would be safe to clean any scrapes or cuts she might get as a normal child would.

So whats next-  First off no matter what we love Baby Girl and the results will not define her.  Her risk is low- less then 5% on top of the fact that we had initial testing done that although it was not definitive at least initially indicated that she was not positive.  If the results come back positive there will be further testing to determine if she has the antibodies or if she has an active Hep C infection (as she could be part of the 15% that clears it).   If it is then determined that she is Hep C positive with an active infection we will begin to see infectious diseases.  They will advise us to her treatment options.  Since she is young and healthy and clearly asymptomatic I believe that a positive diagnosis really will change little.

I have written about this because I wanted to share our experience as when we were filling out our check list Hep C was one of the boxes we did not check.  We were advised that it was a horrible disease (and in my professional work have seen people suffer cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer- its not fun!)  Baby Girl was still presented to us because of all the other things about her situation that were a perfect match.  I do recall momentarily seeing that D was Hep C positive but it really wasn't part of our discussion about if we should go to PA or not.  Had we focused on the Hep C i'm not sure where it would have lead us but I'm glad it didn't stop us.

I think this is a lesson on really doing your own homework.  Its one thing to go to the Pediatricians office and going thru the check list but it is another thing to really spend time researching.  In our defense there isn't really much about pediatric Hep C.

So to all those prospective adoptive parents looking at that overwhelming grid of diagnoses I hope that this post was helpful at least to answer the Hep C question.

In our case I'm glad it was over looked because no matter what the outcome of the test results we will receive tomorrow- We love our Baby Girl.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Parents are Awesome

On Wednesday I got a text from DH saying that he would likely be home late from work.  He was working on a case that he wasn't sure he would have completed by the time he was done with work.  He was waiting on some paper work from another office and that office closed at 4:30.  Lucky for me I got out early that day and was able to pick up Baby Girl at her usual time.

4:30 arrived and the paperwork arrived he was waiting for which meant he had to continue to work which meant he wasn't going to be home anytime soon.  Wednesdays are pace days in our running schedule which means we are supposed to try to push ourselves.  35 minutes.  Thats it.  When I'm alone when I run 35 minutes at pace I run about 4.25 miles.

I set off.  The air was cool (can't complain its better then the 90's).  Unfortunately the wind was blowing- directly at us while I ran up hill.  I felt like I wasn't making gains.  9 minute mile.  I pushed.  I tried.  I mustered my strength.  Another 9 minute mile.  The thing about running for time is you need to balance distance with time because you want to end somewhere near your ending point.  Its a calculation between speed and distance.  Another 9 minute mile.  The calculation in my head has me about a half mile from home when I finish and I'm a little worried.  I make the final turn to start heading down the hill and in the general direction towards home.  I'm finally able to pick up speed but my legs are feeling like jello.  Baby girl is singing her current favorite song "Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday."

When I suddenly hear "Parents are Awesome."  I looked towards the direction of the voice.  I initially thought it was my uncle and wave.  I then quickly realize that I have no idea who this man is riding past me on his bike.  He then said "When I see parents out like you I think- Parents are awesome."  I smile.  He rode away.  I shouted "Thanks!"  I put my running legs into high gear and ended up at home at 35 minutes and 5 seconds- 3.97 miles.

Made baby girl dinner, got her ready for bed- because parents are awesome.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Single Parent

So last week it was just me.  Baby Girl and I got to spend Friday-Friday all by our lonesome.  I am fortunate to have an aunt down the street who took Baby Girl to daycare each morning allowing me to get to work by 7 so I could pick her up by 4 rather then having her at daycare from 7:30-5.

Over the weekend we stayed busy.  We watched airplanes take off/land after we dropped DH off.  We went for lots of walks.  We went running (well I ran she rode).  We went blueberry picking (and eating).  We went to the farmers market.  We had a play date.  We went to our neighborhood picnic.  We played in the bathtub.  We read lots of books.

During the week the days flew by and I found myself going to bed at 10:30-11PM and then up again at 5:45.  We would get home, eat a snack, she would play while I made dinner, we ate dinner, bath, bed.  Wash, rince and repeat.

It was exhausting.  At one point I told DH that in protest of him being gone I wasn't going to wash any more of her cups since we had enough for one per day.  In the end I broke down and washed cups.

The little things we share- making dinner, watching her, cleaning up after dinner, baths, bed time routines.  They flow.  We work as a team and it just gets done.

I found myself thinking often of my friends in high school who had children and the fathers were quickly gone.  Many of them lived with their parents but they still were the primary care giver to their child.  I can't imagine.  I thought of friends who's husbands have deployed and wondered how they did it.  The safety of their spouse in question while they mustered up the courage to do what had to be done.

So I'm savoring all the free time I have this week since DH is home and there are two of us to divide and conquer, because Sunday DH is off again for two weeks this time.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Adoption Grief

I have read a lot about adoptees and their grief from their loss. I don't know if I'm the only adoptive mom that seems to feel that grief for my daughter or if its just not spoken about. It makes me wonder about some of the miscommunication that occurs in the triad can sometimes stem from this grief.

 At this point baby girl has not yet realized her grief. Some would argue she experienced the loss and primordially has experienced this grief. I fall somewhere in between. Baby girl did not have a consistent caregiver the first eight days of her life. Normally a baby is born and instantly attached to their mother. D had a c-section so she wasn't able to care for baby girl right away, they did room together until she started to show signs of withdrawal and baby girl was moved to the NICU. The transition down to the NICU physically separated the two. Once D discharged from the hospital she had to go back into treatment meaning she could visit daily for a few hours. The other 20+ hours of the day she was cared for by nurses who were caring for other babies. I saw babies cry in their isolets alone while nurses were busy with the other babies. The consistency of staff was so poor that in a month we only had the same nurse a few times. Although she was never abandoned- she was alone- small and all alone.  So I do think that she did not have an optimal first week of life.  Once I did settle in I was under the mercy of the nurses.  Some allowed me to cuddle her while others would down grade her if I held her "too much."

I used to grieve for her time in the hospital but as time has passed I have grieved it and come to accept it as a fact of her life.

Now I grieve for D's inability to be a provider of the role of mother.  I grieve for baby girls separation from her birth family (parents, grandparents, siblings .  I grieve for her needing to understand about bad choices and the consequence of jail.  I grieve that D wont be able to be at visits.  I grieve that Baby Girl has siblings that are with family however they were not able to parent her as well.  I grieve that J doesn't wish to have contact with her.  I grieve for the fact that D put substances into her body that not only harmed herself but also harmed Baby Girl.

I know that these are the facts of her life.  These things will be things I wont hide.  I do know that in time she will process them and understand each of them as a loss.

I feel thought that it is important for me to realize these losses now and grieve them myself so that I can help her understand.  I can't keep these things from being hurtful.  I also can't predict which of these things will cause her pain.  I want to reconcile these thing for myself so that I do not cause her unnecessary pain by placing my own grief onto her.  I feel like the five stages of grief are real- I without a doubt had a denial stage, and anger stage.  There wasn't much to bargin with.  I feel like I've had my moments of sadness (depressive- not depression), and I hope to make it to acceptance soon.

Each day I feel like I get closer to acceptance.  I see it in my ability to understand that J although said he wanted an open adoption had written in his application that he didn't want contact until she was 18.  I have no choice but to accept it.  In accepting it I think I cause less harm to Baby Girl because I can't make him do something he wont.  I felt the acceptance during our visit to PA.  I feel it each time I open a letter from D.  I feel it when I try to get baby girl to say D's name.

I have a feeling that I will cycle through the five stages a few times throughout Baby Girls life.  What I need to ensure is that i help Baby Girl see that is OK to be sad.  Its also OK to be happy.  Its ok to be angry.  Its OK to feel.  In a perfect world I wouldn't be her Mom and to be honest as much as I'd be missing out on- I'd be OK with that.  Unfortunately we dont live in a perfect world, I am her Mom, and I'll have to help her make sense of it all.