RETURN TO REALITY

I (foolishly) had agreed to work the first five days straight when I returned home from vacation. I know you are probably thing, so what?, everyone works a full week when returning. What I hadn’t considered when doing this was that there would be the three hour time difference to adjust to ALONG with working second shift (3p – 11:30p). I was exhausted by the last day, because we also have been practicing getting up early for school which starts 8/30. Ryan will be starting 9th grade, and the bus is estimated to pick him up at 6:30AM. I feel better now that the last few nights I didn’t have to work I could go to bed around 11pm. When I work, I can’t fall asleep much before 1:30AM – 2AM, and this doesn’t bode well when you have to get up the next morning between 5:30AM – 6AM. Believe me, EVERYONE appreciates it when I can sleep! I almost feel like when the kids were babies and I was getting up every couple of hours with them. At least I don’t have diapers to contend with!

We’ve spent the last week submitting school forms online, checking bus routes, and making final purchases getting ready for the big day. They plan to spend this last true weekend of summer relaxing, except for me. Guess what I’ll be doing? Yep, you guessed right – working!

TWELVE YEARS

August 30, 1998 was a very special day for me. That is the day I married the most handsome man in the world. We have been told that he looks like Cary Elwes, in the movie Princess Bride and for me he has been my prince. We started celebrating our 12 years on Friday when we went for a dinner cruise on the Volunteer Princess. While we were on our date, we could not help but talk about all the things the twins would be excited about if they were joining us. Brian had asked when he got the tickets if the children could join us, but he was told it was for adults only. I think an anniversary date is an acceptable time to be away from your children even if they are missed.

While we were on our date our neighbor babysat for us and told us all the cute things the twins said. Julian told Natalie several times in the evening, “Daddy, on boat Inna, Daddy on boat.” When they were eating dinner Natalie fed the dogs her food and then would declare “I’m funny!” The next day I heard Julian telling Natalie she was funny. Natalie is always asking “Is that funny Mommy?” when something happens and I have to say it usually is; however, her feeding the dogs is not funny. I had thought they were not feeding the dogs anymore; but, it sounds like I still have some work to do.

Monday night, which is our actual anniversary, we are going on another date and my niece, Brooke, is going to take care of them. I cannot wait to hear what cute things they say to her. They love her so much and are looking forward to her coming over to play. Brooke works in the church nursery, so she takes care of them every time we go to church. She is such a good role model for them. We are so blessed to have her in our family!
Julian also made my day this weekend. He told me, “Thank you Mommy,” when I gave him his dinner. Everything they do just warms my heart. I know these days go by so quickly and that is why I continue to carry them when they ask me to. Yes, I often hold or carry them both at the same time. That is why I have to stay motivated to exercise so I can hold them both.

When Brian and I got married we both knew we wanted a large family. He said he wanted a basketball team, meaning five children and I thought we would be included in that five. Either way, we have been blessed with Julian and Natalie beyond measure. Our family did not come together as we had pictured it would on that wonderful day twelve years ago, but that is why I am so glad I trust in God. His plan was much better than ours and I am excited to see where He takes us in the many years to come.

FAMILY TIES

Our family got some unexpected news on Friday. My brother, a recently furloughed UPS pilot, has accepted a position with National Airlines flying military supply out of Germany. The job opportunity, offer and acceptance all occurred in less than a 24 hour period. The job is good news, their new residence is what I don’t like; Nick, his wife Meredith and my nephew Jake are all moving to Germany. The plan is that this move isn’t permanent. The move will be for six months for up to three years, depending on the military contracts, Nick’s job at UPS, and what they determine is best for their family. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t saddened by this and hadn’t already shed a few tears. Nick leaves Monday night and Meredith and Jake will be leaving sometime in October. My sadness is purely selfish. I like having my family close by. We all live in about a 2.5 mile radius and while we might go several weeks without seeing each other, there is comfort in knowing we can easily make an impromptu walk in the neighborhood or family dinner happen. I think having kids is making this harder for me. Seeing our children grow up together is one of the benefits of living so close. I like the thought of cousins having a close relationship. Jeremy is an only child, so Nick and Meredith’s children will be Grant and Maria’s only cousins.

With everything, there is opportunity for new adventure. Hopefully, we can save enough money to take a family trip to Germany and maybe Jake can teach Grant and Maria some German words. Last night at church one of the songs we sang stated “I’m counting on God,” so that’s what I’m going to do. I pray that during this journey, they will stay safe, create lifelong memories, experience an amazing part of the world, and return to Louisville in short order. Their time away will go by faster than we ever imagine it could. We never know where life will lead us, so enjoy the ride!

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MORE FUN IN THE SUN

We were having such a good time in SF and Stinson Beach that I was too busy (in a good way) to blog. We spent lots of time walking in the City and taking in the sites. We walked through Chinatown several times, the Italian section (my favorite what with the scents of pizza, Italian pastries and cookies… yum… etc. in the air) the piers along the Embarcadero, and much more. I think one of my favorite things that we did was tour the Hass-Lilienthal Victorian house with Karen and Brian’s friend Alex. Jim says I’m a geek because I like historic things, but I really enjoyed seeing and hearing how this family lived. This time period as well as the Civil War just enchant me. Jim just says I like all things old; I told him he’s lucky, because he’s old!

My next favorite thing in SF was our visit to Alcatraz. We had purchased tickets ahead of time; it is so popular that you have a lead time of several days. My in laws decided not to come with us, so we gave their tickets to a dad and son who had been turned away. He was so thankful, they were leaving the next day as we were, and wouldn’t have had a chance to see it otherwise. The funny thing is that they used Senior Tickets!

The tour is basically done at your own pace. You can wander around the island excluding a few restricted areas. There are signs throughout the grounds telling you what the purpose of each area and/or building had been. Once inside, you are given a set of headphone with a recorded guided tour you can listen to. It directs you to a specific area, and if you wish to stay longer, the recording can be paused.

We all enjoyed this tour a lot, and of course, as most attractions do, it ended at the gift shop. We browsed at the items, and the kids were amazed that a rock from “The Rock” cost $9.95, etc. Believe it or not, they decided it was just too pricey for THEIR wallets, so they found my brother in law and went outside to explore before the next boat back. Jim and I were looking at the books about escape attempts and the general history of Alcatraz and its inmates. We (of course) couldn’t decide on what to purchase, so we spent a small fortune ($85) on 4 books. He refused to part with a $27 book on the history of Alcatraz. Who’s the history geek now? I’m sure this is because he plans on looking at the pictures and reading the captions as if he actually read the book, but who am I to say? He did read on the plane trip home, and I’ve seen him with it a few times since we’ve been back.

Good karma from sharing the ticket – on the way home for both flights we were in the Business Class. It was great, no baggage fees and lots of leg room!

THE HUMAN PACIFIER

Last night I got used as a human pacifier. When people ask about my sleep, I’ve been quick to say that I can’t complain because I can count on at least a five and a half-hour stretch of sleep if not longer, then a quick feeding and back down until I get up a little after 6:00. Our record is currently 8 hours, which happened this past Sunday night. Maria must have heard this and thought it was time to mix things up a bit. She started to squirm and fuss around 1:45 am. Since patting wasn’t working, I pulled her into bed thinking she just needed some cuddling. She quickly started to act as if she wanted to nurse, so I went ahead and her have a turn at the buffet. She camped out for the next 20 minutes or so gulping and smacking her lips like she was tearing through some fried chicken or ribs. I placed her back in the co-sleeper and went back to sleep. Grant woke around 3:30, which is pretty normal, and since Maria had already had a turn, I went ahead and let him nurse in bed. On a normal night, I take both to the couch where they can eat at the same time. I naively thought that Maria would stay asleep the rest of the night. Not so. Grant quietly nursed and went back to sleep and no sooner had I gone to sleep was she grunting and doing her “Stevie Wonder” moves. I pulled her back into bed and she decided it that the buffet needed to reopen. Again, the loud barnyard feeding took place and Jeremy groaned as he tried to cover his ears. After about 30 minutes of this, she took a breath long enough for me to pry her away. I adjusted my alarm to allow for about 20 more minutes of sleep and prayed to go back to sleep. My alarm sounded at 6:40 and I managed to get myself ready and have breakfast before the natives woke. When I went in our room to get them, Maria cracked me up because despite what seemed like an all night feeding frenzy, she was awake and smiley with her hair standing straight up. She must have known that she needed to be extra cute this morning because I was not exactly well rested. Hopefully, last night was a fluke and we can go back to our predictable nighttime routine this weekend. As for now, I told my co-workers that if they hear my head hit the desk to make sure I’m not bleeding and then leave me alone.

Maria was very pleased with her herself this morning.

GENEOLOGY

My brother, David, is researching our family genealogy. In the midst of his studies he sent his DNA off to compare it to some Morrow that we should be related to. As it turns out it is not a match, in fact looking way back into the family tree it appears that we are not Morrows! There is not anyone alive to ask these questions to, but the possibilities include a son was adopted and raised as a Morrow or this woman did not tell anyone that it was not her husbands. However the story goes, we are not who we thought we were. But does it matter? I will always be a “Morrow” no matter what my blood test may say, and as my brother continues to study our genealogy he must feel the same way.

While David is trying to teach me about our family history, I have wondered what family name would Julian and Natalie study. Since they know the Cassidy family would they choose to study their history or mine and Brian’s side of the family? If I was them I would choose to do both and that is why I chose to have an open adoption, because they are not me and have different thoughts and feelings. I am thankful I have provided them with the opportunity to be able to decide such things. They may feel like I felt when I was told about the DNA test; that they are a Bailey no matter what the blood test shows, or they make think differently. Whatever choices’ they make regarding the adoption issue, I just pray that we all remember whose children they really are and that is God’s.

LIVES WITH POTENTIAL

Yesterday a judge temporarily blocked the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research stating it violated law because it involved the destruction of human embryos. Of course, this brings up lots of debate and discussion on television and in the news. Being that this is near and dear to my heart, I started reading and made the mistake of reading some of the comments. Quickly these digressed into a religious debate. This is not a religious issue. It’s a life issue. Yes, I’m a Christian and part of my Christian faith honors life at all stages, but when this issue becomes a religious one, it takes the focus off these tiny lives that are at stake. As I sat on the couch last night holding Grant and Maria, one pundit stated that if these embryos are not used for research they will all go to waste. The thought made me sick and made me more fervent about sharing about embryo adoption. Embryonic stem cells have not shown the promise that is touted in the news. Yet, adult stem cells have been successful in treating disease and it doesn’t get nearly the same attention that embryonic stem cell research gets. The only hope I have is that this judge’s decision will open the door for more people to learn that research and death isn’t the only option for frozen embryos. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again….frozen embryos are not potential lives, but lives with potential.

NEDC’s WEBCAST SERIES CONTINUES

Join NEDC Patient Coordinator Clydene Elkins, RN for a FREE, informative and educational webcast entitled “How To Apply Online If You’d Like to Donate Embryos”.  Clydene will take you step by step through the online application process and discuss what your next steps are.  A good reference for patients who are seeking to donate or adopt embryos as well as medical professionals seeking information for their patients. The webcast starts TODAY at 3:00 Eastern, so if you’d like to attend, head over to www.embryodonation.org/webcast and prepare for an interesting educational experience!

LUPRON INSOMNIA

A year ago I voluntarily stuck a needle in my stomach for the first time. Yep, I started Lupron…another joy of the pre-transfer process. Because of its amazing ability to cause insomnia, it was probably my least favorite part of the pre-transfer protocol. I don’t think it’s the most common side effect of the drug, but after doing some online research I learned I was not alone. For the period of time that I was on it, which was about three weeks, I don’t think I slept. I would lie awake for hours on end. And when I did sleep for a couple of minutes, my dreams were bizarre. Unfortunately, I cannot hide fatigue, no matter how much concealer I use. Dark circles plagued my face and I felt sorry for anyone who dared cross me during this period of time. I remember thinking that if our September transfer didn’t take, I didn’t know if I could go through with one or two more attempts. I was out of my mind and body and couldn’t stand it. Estrace would soon be added to the mix and I would be even more pleasant to be around. Having Jeremy working third shift probably saved our marriage during this period. I was actually looking forward to my progesterone injections because I knew from taking progesterone after our mock cycle in May that it made me feel more normal.

A year ago we were also anxiously anticipating the birth of my nephew. At the time we didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl and was known only as “Monkey”. Now, eleven months after his birth, Jake is walking and babbling and a lot of fun to be around. On Sunday, Jeremy and I went out with Jake and my brother and sister-in-law on their boat on the Ohio River and had a great time. After dropping anchor in a cove, Jake came in the water with us and I couldn’t help but think that in a year, Grant and Maria could easily be playing in the water with us. Seeing how much Jake has grown and developed over the last eleven months makes me realize just how fast life is going and how soon Grant and Maria will be mobile handfuls. I’ll trade my Lupron insomnia and related fatigue for the craziness of chasing a toddler any day. And while sometimes we struggle with bedtime and only get a full night’s sleep here and there, I’m happy my drug-induced lack of sleep is a thing of the past.

REMEMBER THE SMALL STUFF

This past week was just awesome. Natalie told Brian she loves him for the first time last Monday when he was leaving for work. Then when I was bringing home the twins from church that night I decided to pray aloud in the car for some people who had been on my mind. I want the twins to learn that we pray all the time not just at meal time and bedtime. So I as started praying for these people (I did have a long list), Julian said “Amen,” before I was done. As I looked at the twins in the back seat I saw they were holding hands. It was so sweet. We hold hands to pray at meals, so I guess they thought they should hold hands for this prayer as well. Just when I thought the day could not get any better Julian said, “Mom, church is fun!” That was all in just one day.

On Friday, Julian told Brian that he loves him as Brian was walking out the door to work. So within one week Brian got both the first “I love” out of Julian and Natalie. I have to admit that I would have liked to have at least one of them, but Brian is a great Dad and I am sure my time will come. These are the times that I want to never forget.
When my college roommate told me she is having twins, she knew that I would understand her panic. She already has two and thought she was done, so this came as a shock; a wonderful blessing, but still an adjustment. I can only imagine what she may go through. Thinking about the infant times reminded me of some things I did when I had such a small amount of sleep.

Some of the silly things that I did with lack of sleep include dressing Julian in Natalie’s outfit. At least I did figure it out before we left the house! Another time Brian dropped me off at Wal-Mart to get a few things while he drove around with the twins in the car. When I came out I thought I found our car and proceeded to get in and just as I was about to sit in the front seat, I realized the man in the driver’s seat was not my husband. In fact, he was a different race than Brian. God protected me from more than I can ever imagine, during that time.

Having children is truly a blessing that I am thankful I am getting to experience. These wonderful bundles of joy do come with more work than I ever thought I could possibly do, but God has showed me that with Him all things are possible, even taking care of twins on less than three hours of sleep a night over and over again. Now that they are two I am able to sleep and enjoy them so much more. I also do not mistake my husband for another man!