A Great Idea

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I saw another adoptive mom post on her Facebook page today a truly great idea. I was so inspired, I literally put my blow dryer down and walked out to the computer, hair still wet.

This mom set up an email account for her daughter. She is going to give it to her, and the password, when she is 18. From now until then, she is going to send emails to her daughter. On her 18th birthday, her daughter can read these memories, some 17 years in the making.

I was inspired.

I immediately set up accounts for Brae, Sienna, and Graem.

Then, I sent them their first email:

Hello Brae, Sienna, and Graem!

I hope this email finds you well!

Mommy is starting a little adventure. I’ve created these email accounts for you. On the day you move out of the house and start your own next chapter of adventure, I will give you these email accounts, along with the passwords.

Over the next many years, I’m going to be writing to you. So, if you look in your inbox right now, you should have many, many, many emails from me over the years. Every time I’ve wanted to write to you, I did, sending you an email. It’s my way of speaking to you over the years, and sending you photos, etc. I hope you will treasure reading these emails as much as I know I will sending them to you.

I’m so excited for this and I want you to know YOU ARE LOVED. By the God of the Universe, and by your Mommy and Daddy.

xoxoxo

Britney

Blessing From Above

Sarah

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I am 11 weeks this week and am excited to celebrate the season with family, great food, and a heart of thankfulness. I am still struggling with nausea but it seems to be getting a little better each week. I am looking forward to the season; however, that is not what has been on my mind as much as the Thanksgiving family gathering.

I have been trying to figure out the best time to tell the family about my pregnancy. It is a hard decision as people’s reactions can be very different. I feel after you have more than one child, announcing a pregnancy seems to be more difficult when dealing with people, especially family. There are those people who will not see adding a child to your life as a beautiful gift, but a burden or bad money decision. Even my own mom has said in the past, “Aren’t you busy enough?”! It is so off on how God has helped me to see the lives of my children and the gift of adoption! And the hardest part is that I have to see these people again and again.

I know I should not care what people think, even my own family, but it is hard to find the right time and words to share what is important to me. I know this will be my last pregnancy and I don’t want it ruined by what people feel about my situation. I feel like hiding for the rest of this event because I don’t want anybody raining on my parade! Currently, there are a lot of families sharing their announcements on Facebook. I am still thinking about that option – then I won’t have to be face to face with the people who feel the need to express their opinions far too strongly.

I haven’t decided yet when to announce my secret, and may not at all and just let people see the beautiful package that grows inside. I know now what I have decided to focus on for the season and what’s precious to me, and that is the gift of my children and supportive husband. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” That is where my heart will be this season.

Attached is Vivienne, almost 22 months, in her Olaf costume Halloween 2014. IMG_0774

Twin Questions

We still get a lot of questions regarding twins. These include:

“Are they identical?” Uhh, is the fact that one is a boy and one is a girl not your first clue? They have different plumbing!

“Do they have different personalities?” They are two different people so, yes.

“Do they get along?” Yes, they are best friends and arch enemies. They are extremely bonded, but also know how to push each other’s buttons.

“Do they have their own language?” They understand each other when we sometimes can’t and there are times when no words are exchanged, but they will simultaneously get up and switch seats or positions. There is a mental connection that I don’t think non-twin siblings have.

“Did you know you were having twins?” This typically comes from someone older but, yes….we knew very early – 6 weeks and 3 days to be exact.

“How far along did you make it when you were pregnant?” 32 weeks…which is generally followed by “That’s really good for twins.” No, actually, it is not good. Plenty of women go 37 plus weeks with their twins. Had they not been born in the modern era of medicine they would have likely not survived. By the grace of God they were a good size and were breathing well on their own. Our NICU experience certainly made me stronger and more compassionate, but I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

“What was it like carrying twins?” I have nothing to compare it to, but there were days when there was a dance party on my bladder and, without the aid of 39 pillows, I would not have slept…and it’s a good thing Jeremy worked 3rd shift because there was not room for him in the bed.

To me, the following are attempts to find out if we used fertility treatments:

“Were you surprised to find out you were having twins?” Depending on the situation I will either give a very short “No” which I think leads to more questions that the inquirer isn’t brave enough to ask or I will simply say “No, we had a little help.”

“Do twins run in the family?” I can honestly answer yes to this questions as there are twins on both sides of my family. However, I usually take this questions as a fishing expedition and I’m getting to the point where I don’t like it. I know people are naturally curious about twins, but does it really matter how they came to be twins? Is there something more magical about twins who came about spontaneously or twins who were fought for and spent 7 years on ice? Both are pretty awesome if you ask me.

Private Pain

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At church, we are going through a series about social media and its role in each of our lives.

This series has re-opened my eyes to the deluge of social media in my life, and caused me to wonder a little more about the person behind all those “selfie” posts.

I don’t take selfies. Or, at least I don’t consider them selfies. Someone else takes the picture, so it’s not a selfie, right?

I used to be someone who basked in the limelight. Loved attention.

Not anymore. Perhaps it was the pain of infertility for so many years, or perhaps it is just the maturity that comes with age, but I’m much more introspective than I used to be. I’ve retreated from the limelight for the comfort of a more subtle glow.

I prefer to be the observer than the observed now.

I have hundreds of friends. At least according to Facebook.

In reality, I have a handful of friends I feel truly comfortable around. Who know my joys, my sorrows, my fears, my delights, and who have walked beside me in my private pain.

Infertility being the biggest private pain I’ve ever suffered.

Sure, I’ve been very open and very public about our infertility. But, unless you’ve been through it, it is still a very private, raw, deeply personal pain. I’m not even sure my husband could relate to the vacancy I felt when I was in the throes of infertility.

I’m not even sure I could recognize today the person that I was then.

I can look back at pictures from during that time. Pictures of me, with a smile on my face. Hiding a broken heart.

I know I’m not the only one who has concealed private pain behind a beautiful shade of red lipstick.

In fact, I’m pretty positive that when I pull up Facebook tonight, I’ll find a dozen other “friends” who are masking their own private pain.

I may never know exactly who they are at any given time, or what exactly they are hiding, but there are some things I can do to connect with them in their time of distress.

I can be real. I can be honest. I can share the joys of my world without bragging about them. I can celebrate the goodness of life without acting like I’m the cause of it.

I can be grateful.

There is a saying that no one will ever remember all the things you said to them, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.

I try to keep that in mind every time I go online, and comment on someone’s post or picture, or share a “status” of my own.

Humility. Gratitude. And most of all, a little sense of humor.

Even if I, too, am hiding some private pain.

Update

Sarah

Last week, I reached 9 weeks and had my 2nd ultrasound. I was so excited, nervous and waiting in anticipation that everything would be normal and growing strong. The baby was measuring accurately and the HB was 188. It was awesome to behold! It was a full circle of new memories and closure of sorrow and pain. The doctor that was helping me was a physician that had tried many years to help us conceive. He had grieved with our loss and pain along with us. He met my daughter for the first time and now was able to see us through with a surprise sibling for her. He himself was very surprised with the success we have had with embryo adoption.

Seven years ago, I would have never been able to see the future of healing and hope God has brought us. I am so thankful in the wonderful blessing of finding NEDC and the stories that have given us hope, as well as experiencing embryo adoption ourselves. Now, again, I have the joy of a new life growing inside me. It is defiantly a highlight of the holiday as Thanksgiving approaches.

I have not revealed our news to family as I am still struggling with my emotions and the pregnancy outcome. I was told I had a subchorionic bleed near the baby. I had this with my first successful pregnancy; however, this was one was larger than the last one. It just looked very scary on the ultrasound. I have had no bleeding but I am hoping and praying this will go away and it will be uneventful during the pregnancy. I have done my research on this and know this can be common with IVF. However, I have read stories of bad outcomes and women who did not have a live baby in the end. I know I will be getting follow-up testing done. I am holding on with hope and prayers all will be fine and we will have the sibling we have been dreaming of!

Graem’s 4 Month Check-Up

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I breathed a huge sigh of relief coming out of Graem’s 4-month-checkup.

After a bumpy start to life, he is finally on par with other full-term babies. He weighed in at 13.9 lbs (60th percentile, age adjusted), and is in the 75th percentile (age adjusted) for height at over 25 inches.

He also laughed the entire visit.

He’s not yet rolling over, which many 4 monthers are, so there is a bit of his prematurity showing there.

The doctor gave the “go” for solid foods, and I headed straight to the grocery store. I love shopping for baby food.

We tried carrots first. And, I think maybe he got a total of one teaspoon in his mouth.

He’s sleeping between 5-8 hours straight at night, and averages 4 naps/day.

He loves going on runs in the stroller with me.

He adores playing with his older brother. Sienna still mostly keeps a safe distance from him.

He loves to be tickled on his inner thigh, and his collar bone.

He loves baths.

He is the kind of baby that makes you think you could do another 3 more.

Dot, dot, dot.

Sigh.

Here he is on Halloween, wearing the same costume Brae wore home from the hospital.

graem halloween

Hearts Beating

Sarah

I will finally have my second ultrasound next week. I am so excited! I do feel everything is right on track. I do hope and pray for good news. On my first ultra sound, my baby’s heartbeat was 120. With my first successful transfer, my baby girl always had a high heart rate when I had my ultrasounds (over 160). I have been doing my research again on heartbeats and gender differences. This was actually a thesis I was going to research for my Midwife degree. I am fortunate to know many midwives and doctor friends. When I started training I was very curious to see for myself this correlation of heartbeats and gender identification. I still have many questions and more research to do.

The blogs are full of this discussion, and I am curious to see if my baby’s heartbeat will be higher or lower on this next ultrasound. In my research, some of my conclusions are that heartbeats are not always consistent with gender identification. I don’t feel in my opinion that God would have made it that easy. However, I did find a study in the journal of Pediatric Research which did a study on newborns and heartbeat rhythms. Their conclusion was that boys do have a slightly lower heart rate than girls. I have also done some interviews with some professionals and most have told me that boys struggle at birth more than girls do in stressful situations. If the baby is slightly premature, a newborn girl frequently does better than if it is a boy. If there are twins that are born premature, and one is a girl and one is a boy, many neonatal specialists and nurses expect the girl to do better and improve faster if both are initially distressed. Boys can run lower in their heartbeat rhythms and become higher over time.

I know it should not matter at all, as long as it is healthy baby! I also will not be disappointed by any gender, for this pregnancy is an awesome wonderful gift! It has been fun to research, interview and see for myself the differences of gender in the womb. I hope to do more research in fetal development and gender differences. It would be nice to hear from others what experiences they have had with heart rate and gender outcomes.