Alas, we will meet.

Photobucket

 

 

In almost exactly one year, we will meet our donors and Sienna’s genetic siblings for the first time.

We are “facebook” friends, text one another frequently, send emails, receive Christmas and birthday gifts from them for Sienna, and are otherwise basically linked for life.

But we’ve never met in person.

That will all change next December.

We have planned a trip to Disney World with our family next year, and have invited our donors to meet us there.  They agreed!

I am beyond excited.  Sienna will be 3.5 years old, and her genetic siblings will be newly teenagers.  What better place to connect than the happiest place on Earth?!

When we were looking at profiles of potential donors back in 2010, our main criteria was that we get matched with people we felt we could sit down and have a beer with.  People we could just talk to.  Our donors fit the bill.

Needless to say I’m beyond thrilled to meet them, throw my arms around each one of them, thank them profusely for this amazing gift they gave to us, and just enjoy some time getting to know one another more.

I’m excited for Sienna to have this opportunity to meet her blood, although I full well know she will not understand much about it.  But, that’s what video and cameras are for.

And, I trust this will only be the first of several visits over her lifetime.

Britney

SIBLING APPOINTMENT

Image

Josh and I had our sibling appointment and mock transfer at the NEDC this past week.  We are excited to be moving forward, in hopes of bringing home a sibling to John Luke, this time next year.  As of now, we are scheduled for a March transfer.

Dr. Keenan said I responded well to the Estrace.  My lining was 8.75 mm which was even better than the transfer from which I got pregnant with John Luke.  It was obviously good enough to get pregnant, but was on the lower side, around 7 mm.  Dr. Keenan put me on 5 days of Prometrium, and tapered the Estrace from 3x per day to 2x per day until I come off the Prometrium.  I should get a period within 3 days.  On the first day of menses, I start birth control, active only, until I receive my medical protocol to continue Estrace and start the Lupron.  I will need two ultrasounds, and will need blood drawn after starting meds, prior to transfer.

Dr. Keenan said I needed to chart my basal body temperature first thing in the morning to make sure I am still ovulating.  He said my ovaries looked small, which I guess is what brought us to embryo adoption in the first place.  If I am not ovulating on my own, he will have to put me on an estrogen, for the hormones needed, to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

We had 6 embryos remaining after our transfer with John Luke.  The embryos were frozen three to a vial.  Provided my lining is primed and ready to receive the embryos, the NEDC will thaw one of the vials, and transfer any surviving embryos.  If none survive, the last three will be thawed.  I have to use all 6 embryos before I “age out” at 45, or release them back to the NEDC.

I was relieved I had responded better to the meds this time around.  We took John Luke with us to meet Dr. Keenan, Carol Summerfelt, and the NEDC staff.  Josh’s parents came along to help watch him in the lobby during my evaluation.  It was exciting to bring him there, knowing he was once frozen in liquid nitrogen in the back, and is now a bouncing boy, out in the waiting room.

We asked Carol, NEDC embryologist, how long our embryos had been frozen.  She said since 2009.  If we are blessed to get pregnant again in March, we will be due in December 2014.  The baby (or babies) will have been frozen for five years.  They will finally be “out of the freezer” and into our warm and grateful arms.

photo 2 photo 3 photo

NEVER A DULL MOMENT

The last hour and a half of our Sunday makes me laugh.  It had been a relatively normal day until after naps.  One of our cats has a bladder infection and I discovered several spots in the den where she had been peeing rather than using the litter box.  The kids were occupied in the living room throwing a party for their animals, which consisted of getting out all the pillows and blankets and spreading across the room.  They were appropriately noisy so I didn’t keep that close of a watch on them as I cleaned soiled carpet and shoved medicine down the cat’s throat with a syringe.  Jeremy was occupied with laundry so he wasn’t watching closely either, so we can’t say for certain what happened.  All I know is that I heard Grant say his arm hurt and he was holding it as if it were in a sling close to his body.  Now, they do a lot of pretend play, so I wasn’t sure if he was really hurt or just playing, until I got close to him and his eyes said that he was actually hurt.  I called for Jeremy and said I think he might have nursemaid’s elbow again.  Mentally, I was recalling when this happened two years ago and how the ER doctor showed me how to fix it if and when it happened again as this is not an uncommon injury for children this age because they have loose ligaments.  I really didn’t want to make a trip to the immediate care center or ER!

Jeremy and I tried to touch his arm, but he protested.  After a little coaxing, I talked him into letting me touch his arm.  I then quickly completed the maneuver as demonstrated by the doctor when I felt and heard his elbow pop.  It brought forth a quick cry from Grant, but as soon as it started, he stopped.  Within minutes, he was moving his arm normally again.  For that I was relieved.

A few minutes later, Grant stuck his finger in the sensor of the carbon monoxide detector and it proceeded to go off for the next several minutes.  Jeremy was finally able to reset it and we could try to recover the hearing that was lost. A little while later, after approximately 87 trips to the bathroom, the kids were quiet and I could laugh at the comedy of errors that had occurred that evening. The last hour and a half of our Sunday makes me laugh. It had been a relatively normal day until after naps. One of our cats has a bladder infection and I discovered several spots in the den where she had been peeing rather than using the litter box. The kids were occupied in the living room throwing a party for their animals, which consisted of getting out all the pillows and blankets and spreading across the room. They were appropriately noisy so I didn’t keep that close of a watch on them as I cleaned soiled carpet and shoved medicine down the cat’s throat with a syringe. Jeremy was occupied with laundry so he wasn’t watching closely either, so we can’t say for certain what happened. All I know is that I heard Grant say his arm hurt and he was holding it as if it were in a sling close to his body. Now, they do a lot of pretend play, so I wasn’t sure if he was really hurt or just playing, until I got close to him and his eyes said that he was actually hurt. I called for Jeremy and said I think he might have nursemaid’s elbow again. Mentally, I was recalling when this happened two years ago and how the ER doctor showed me how to fix it if and when it happened again as this is not an uncommon injury for children this age because they have loose ligaments. I really didn’t want to make a trip to the immediate care center or ER!

Jeremy and I tried to touch his arm, but he protested. After a little coaxing, I talked him into letting me touch his arm. I then quickly completed the maneuver as demonstrated by the doctor when I felt and heard his elbow pop. It brought forth a quick cry from Grant, but as soon as it started, he stopped.Within minutes, he was moving his arm normally again. For that I was relieved.

A few minutes later, Grant stuck his finger in the sensor of the carbon monoxide detector and it proceeded to go off for the next several minutes. Jeremy was finally able to reset it and we could try to recover the hearing that was lost.

A little while later, after approximately 87 trips to the bathroom, the kids were quiet and I could laugh at the comedy of errors that had occurred that evening.

Brae’s 5-year checkup

Photobucket

Brae’s 5-year checkup was quite possibly one of the worst doctor appointments I’ve ever had. First, it lasted over an hour. Checking the ears, eyes, muscle control, balance, urinating in a cup, the list goes on. Second, Brae was in a mood. He was antsy, obnoxious, picking on his sister, not wanting to listen to the doctor, the list goes on.

I think I may have contributed to the mood by prepping him the night before that he had to get some… (shhh…) s.h.o.t.s. I think that just caused him a lot of anxiety.

But, I’ve also done the opposite before, and not told him the shots were part of the gameplan, and he freaked out.

Can’t win.

So, after an hour of complete misery, a nurse and I then had to hold Brae down with all our might as they administered the round of shots. I held his face in my hands as I just tried to calm him down by talking softly to him, looking in his eyes. Poor little guy, he was just terrified. I think next time I won’t tell him the shots are part of the deal, so he’ll have less time to get worked up about it.

Sigh.

His stats are that he’s just above 50% for height, and 50% for weight. The doctor said he’s highly intelligent, and perhaps a little OCD. (Brae’s organized his closet so that every hanger is evenly spaced; when he climbs into bed at night, he only disturbs the bed as much as absolutely necessary so as not to ruin in the straight sheets and blanket; I could go on).

We noticed that behavior as early as 18 months, when Brae would line up all his toy cars in perfectly neat rows. The doctor said we should just continue to watch it, but that he may just be an engineer in the making (like his Daddy!).

Little Miss Sienna definitely does not have OCD. The girl’s room is in a constant state of disrepair, she loves to make huge messes, and could care less if she walks around in a wet and poopy diaper all day.

Maybe I can channel Brae’s OCD into cleaning up his sister’s room….

Britney

pic 1

JOHN LUKE TURNS ONE!

Image

John Luke turned one year old on Tuesday, November 26th.  We held his first birthday party, the following Saturday at Wallabies, a popular kids place in town.  They have wall-to-wall inflatable slides, obstacle courses, and a toddler area for ages 3 and under.  It was perfect: Indoors, something for all ages, and not at my house!

Wallabies has a huge climbing area for toddlers, with cushioned vinyl stairs and tunnels.  It was interesting to watch John Luke explore a new environment.  I also loved seeing him interact with the other kids.  We had about 11 kids and 20 adults come celebrate his birthday with us.

It was a fun filled week with mine and Josh’s parents coming on Wednesday for Thanksgiving, then for the birthday party on Saturday.  My parents headed home Sunday morning, and Josh’s parents will be leaving Monday, after following us to Knoxville.  Josh and I have our sibling appointment and mock transfer at the NEDC with Dr. Keenan 9 Am Monday morning.

It will be the first time we have taken John Luke to meet the NEDC staff.  We live only two hours from Knoxville, but I haven’t wanted to drop in unexpected, knowing how busy they stay with patients.  Since we will be there for our appointment, I can’t wait for them to meet my cutie pie!

I was also having concerns about bringing a baby into an infertility clinic where there are patients struggling to have a child.  I remember being one of those patients a few years back.  It is my hope, John Luke will be an inspiration, as living proof, that embryo adoption does work as an alternative to family building.

image004

Thankless

Photobucket

 

 

It’s that time of year when everyone is supposed to feel thankful.  Full of hope.  Gratitude.

But if you’re struggling with infertility, or have ever felt the pain of that longing, this can be the worst time of the year.

You’re surrounded by families at the mall.  Christmas songs sung by children haunt the radio.  Pregnant women proudly display their rotund bellies adorned by colorful scarves.

It sucks.

The last thing you feel is in the Christmas spirit, let alone thankful, hopeful, or grateful.

You feel… thankless.

I have soaked many pillows with my tears on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.  The longing for a child runs deep.  It penetrates the interior, and like a cancer, eats away until it captures your soul.  Your identity.

If you’re not diligent and on guard, it imprisons your joy.

I’ve been there.

Even after having children, and in many ways, having been delivered from that imprisonment, I still bear the scars.

And for that, I’m thankful.

Infertility has made me a more compassionate person, and not just to others sharing in the same struggle.  To others who have broken relationships – with their parents, their children, their siblings.  To others who have lost parents, children.

Infertility has also given me a platform that, without experience, I would have no credibility with those who seek my counsel.  Just like you wouldn’t want to take marriage advice from someone who has never been married, people don’t want to talk about infertility with someone who has no problem getting pregnant.

In many ways, infertility has been a gift.

Infertility gave me my son.  Infertility gave me my daughter.

Infertility has woven a beautiful, painful tapestry in my life.

The effects of infertility have made me thankful.

Britney

“I Wish that Someone Had Offered Us Embryos, We Probably Would Not have Created Our Own”

nancyauthor

The above quote is one that I have heard from countless families as they were preparing to donate their embryos.  As these donor families are in the process of donating their embryos, they reflect that receiving embryos was never presented to them as an option when they considered pursuing in vitro fertilization for their family building plan.

This thought is not spoken with regret, but rather as an observation how the embryo donor process has evolved.  Families today that desire to give birth to their adopted child have the wonderful option of receiving embryos that compassionate donors are offering.   It is a great option to give life to embryos that remain in frozen storage and are willingly donated by the family that created them.

While the process of embryo donation and adoption occurs in the sanctuary of a medical facility, the decision to donate emanates from the heart of couples who have remaining embryos in storage.  The two families involved may never meet or they may choose to have an open relationship.  Many donor families report that, even though they do not know nor have an open relationship with the recipients,   that they think of the family that received their donated embryos many times.

On several occasions, I have called donors to share with them that the recipient family did not become pregnant with their donated embryos.  I was humbled by the way that these generous families grieved for the family for whom embryo donation and adoption was not successful.  The donor family had experienced disappointment as they traveled through infertility and they well knew the grief and loss that the recipient family was experiencing.

Embryo donation is a wonderful way to build a family.  Through the generosity of one family, a new family is joyously created.