I won the Lottery!


Ok, so not that lottery.  But I won the kindergarten lottery!  Simply, this means that Brae got his first-choice for kindergarten next year.  He will be able to continue his Spanish immersion education (that he’s been in since he was 3 months old) by enrolling into our elementary school’s Spanish immersion program.  The kids stay together from K-5.  Instruction is 50% Spanish and 50% English.

We are thrilled. This also means that Sienna has priority when she’s ready for kindergarten.

As you probably know, Spanish is the second most used language in the United States.  There are more Spanish speakers in the US than of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and all the Native American languages, combined.   According to the 2012 US Census, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by nearly 40 million people.  That is double what it was in 1990.

Spanish speakers are the fastest growing linguistic group in the US.  By 2050 (Brae will be 41; Sienna will be 38; baby in the oven will be 36), the US will become the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, and Spanish will be the second-most-spoken language in the world, surpassed only by Chinese.  That means that English will be spoken less than Spanish.

More and more businesses are requiring bilingual employees.  Bilingual employees can earn $20,000 more per year simply by being bilingual.

With all this data (and believe me, there’s more), you may see why it is so important for us that our children speak another language, particularly Spanish.  But, it’s more than just all these figures.  I began learning Spanish when I was in 7th grade, and continued formal education of the language through college.  It has helped me immensely in my personal and professional life.  My sister is a Spanish high school teacher.  My mom speaks Spanish and is able to use her medical degree to travel the world with “Doctors without Borders.”

Tygh, well, el no habla espanol.  Que lamenta.

There’s also another reason why it was so important for our kids to get a Spanish education early, particularly for Brae.  Brae is a quarter Peruvian.  We wanted him to be able to connect to his Latin roots and have the opportunity, if he wanted, to travel the world with the ability to converse easily with native speakers.

Even today, when Brae speaks Spanish with native speakers, the native speakers (and others watching) are absolutely dumbfounded.  This 5-year-old, pale-skinned, skinny “white” boy is talking fluently in Spanish with them.  They get a tickle out of it.

And I just have to smile at this gift he’s been given.




I had my appointment for lab work and an ultrasound this week at the NEDC. To my relief, everything went well, and I was given the approval to start the Estrace. There was just one embarrassing little hiccup that happened. I showed up a day early.

To be honest, I almost don’t want to post this, but when I signed up to do this blog, I told myself some things would be painful, like exposing my raw emotions about infertility. Blogging would also reveal vulnerabilities in me, I often wouldn’t like to admit. However, I believe, if we admit our flaws, it makes other people realize they too are okay, imperfections and all.

So having said that, I excitedly arrive at the NEDC at 7:55 AM to my 8:00 AM appointment and sign in, only to have the receptionist inform me, they had me scheduled for the next day, the 21st. I knew my appointment was on the 21st, but where I miscalculated, I had in my mind the 21st was on Thursday- not Friday.

My mom and I had arranged the week before to meet in Knoxville for dinner on the eve of my appointment. We would spend the night, then she would watch John Luke the next morning, while I had my check up. After glancing at the calendar previously, I had thought the 21st was on Thursday, and didn’t think about it any further. We had made our plans and that was that.

Easy mistake right? Except, this was an extremely critical appointment. Fortunately, the NEDC was very accommodating and worked me in on the 20th. I truly believe things happen for a reason. On the 21st, the day of my original appointment, I woke up having a sinus infection with nausea and vomiting. I was sick in bed for two days. Traveling would have been extremely difficult, especially with a toddler. It was not an appointment I could have rescheduled until Monday, given the time sensitivity of the protocol.

The take away – I need to check and re-check my schedule. Luckily, it worked out for me this time. Next time, I might not be so lucky. I laughed it off saying, “I’d rather be a day early than a day late.” I try to be an optimist and learn from each experience.


I’ve debated telling this story, but I would be dishonest if I didn’t. Some people might judge, but after sharing it with several people and hearing their own similar stories, I’m sharing. After all, it’s about the good, the bad, and everything in between, right?
We were on the way to church one Saturday evening when a car stopped short in front of us. I braked and went around this car that had apparently found the house for which it was looking. Neither Jeremy nor I said anything about the car and I didn’t really think much of it…until I heard a little voice from the back passenger side of the van declare “That guy is a dumbass.”
I looked at Jeremy and asked if he was proud, because there was NO doubt that Grant had heard that phrase from Jeremy while driving. Jeremy laughed and said “well, he did use it in proper context and if a three year old can tell you are a dumbass…”
I turned my head and looked out the window as I stifled a laugh. I sure this won’t be the first time they repeat something like this…



When I was pregnant with Sienna, I never posted anything about it on any social media site.  In fact, after she was born, and I did post pictures of her, many acquaintances sent me messages, marveling about how they didn’t even know I was pregnant.

With this pregnancy, I’ve pretty much done the same thing.  I have never posted anything about being pregnant, and don’t plan to.

This is deliberate.  For me, I remember the pain each time someone I knew posted about being pregnant, and showed off their growing belly.  It killed me inside.

Perhaps I’m more sensitive than most, but when I see posts about someone announcing their engagement, I immediately think of all the girls crying because they just broke up with their boyfriend.  When I see posts about someone announcing their cool new job, I think of all the people who have just lost theirs.  When I see posts about someone’s awesome vacation, I think of all the people who can’t afford to take one.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy seeing all these happy posts, and like to celebrate with others in their joy.  There is nothing malicious in posting stuff like this.  But my heart goes out to all of those who have been marginalized by this same celebration and joy.

With everything we’ve been through, I just cannot bring myself to announce this pregnancy or post belly pics on social media.  Instead of basking in all of the uplifting messages I’m sure we’d get, I will be obsessed with the one girl whose day got a little darker because of that news.

Because I had many of those dark days, too.



Recently, I took a parenting class based on the principles of ‘Love and Logic’ by co-authors Jim Fay and Charles Fay, Phd.  Here are some notes from week one:

How to handle a whining or begging child:

  1. Go Brain Dead- don’t over react, don’t talk or lecture, don’t try to reason in excess.
  2. Pick one statement and smile while saying it, such as, “I love you too much to argue.”

Remember, when you do the right thing by setting limits for children and   enforcing them, it may feel like your doing the wrong thing in the short term.  But,    sometimes we have to upset children (in the short term) so they can be successful in the long term.

There is an epidemic of parents who don’t want to upset their kids (or don’t want their kids to be unhappy even temporarily), although it could produce long term gains in discipline.

Two basic beliefs kids have:

  1.  My parents, the most powerful people in my life, cannot make me behave.  Therefore, I must be really bad.
  2.  My parents can handle me.  Therefore, I must be pretty good.  And! They make parenting look easy.

Characteristics of successful parents:

  1.  Not permissive.
  2. Keep it simple, use few words to discipline.

3) Always communicate love and empathy before delivering consequences.

*Using empathy is the core of Love and Logic principles to parenting.  Choose one empathetic statement such as, “How sad” or “That’s a bummer.”  (That’s a bummer you mis-behaved, and now I have to take a toy away).  Then, deliver consequences.  This teaches cause and effect.

*The transfer effect will occur if parents are consistent.  It’s hard for them to blame anyone else for their misconduct if they can see the cause and effect.

*Plan out consequences.  Take time to plan and discipline. “Which toy will you give up for your mis-behavior?”  Let actions and discipline do the teaching.  Let the action of taking the toy speak for itself rather than talking about the situation over and over.  Kids will tune you out, but they will remember having their toy taken for a time.

Everyone has a different parenting style.  These are just notes from the class I wanted to share.  Each family knows what works for them and each individual child.

Sibling Love… is driving me Crazy


Brae and Sienna love each other.  A lot.  And trust me, this warms a mother’s heart.  I remain in awe about their close bond, despite not sharing a gene between them.  Again, love makes a family, not genetics.

But… sometimes, their bond drives me up the wall.  A few cases in point:

1) One minute, they are on the floor tickling one another, laughing hysterically.  The next, Sienna is running to me, bawling, and she has a scratch on her cheek.  Brae isn’t far behind, screaming, with bite marks on his shoulder.

2) Brae brushes her hair in the morning, putting barrettes in her hair.  When I come in, she has blue, sticky hair.  Toothpaste.

3) When Sienna runs out of underwear, Brae gives her his.

4) Brae has no problem giving Sienna some “tough physical love.”  But he will not stand for anyone else treating her that way.  I’ve had to explain to more than one mother that when Brae screamed, red-faced at her child for even touching Sienna, Brae was really just defending her honor.

… And this one really sticks in my craw….

5) I put the kids to bed, in their separate rooms, around 8 p.m.  And sometimes, in the middle of the night (e.g., 1 a.m.), I hear noises upstairs.  Brae has sneaked into Sienna’s room, pulled her out of bed, and they’ve tiptoed into his room, where he reads to her.  Sienna now has a bell on her door.

After Your Family is Complete, What Do you Do with the Remaining Embryos?


When families realize that they are having trouble conceiving and carrying a child to term, they begin to consider their options for have a child. Most enlist the services of a reproductive endocrinologist to assess what the problem is and learn what options are available to them.
One option that is often considered and used is in vitro fertilization. In vitro fertilization is a procedure where the joining of egg and sperm takes place outside of the woman’s body. Typically the woman may be given fertility drugs before this procedure so that multiple eggs mature in the ovaries simultaneously. The eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and then mixed with the sperm in a laboratory dish or test tube. The eggs are monitored for several days. Once there is evidence that fertilization has occurred and the cells begin to divide, the fertilized eggs are then returned to the woman’s uterus or frozen to be used at a later date.
Once they have completed their family with the created embryos, they are faced with the decision of what to do with the remaining embryos. Some families report that they do not think about these embryos that remain in cryo storage until they receive the annual storage bill from the clinic that is care-taking their embryos.
Very often families who have embryos in storage desire to donate their embryos to another family. Many donors have reported to me that they “wished someone had offered our family embryos as we probably would not have created our own.” Repeatedly I have witnessed families who have embryos to donate express a deep understanding of the feelings and emotions of the families who would like to receive donated embryos.
While knowing that they are making a good decision for their embryos, a family who is making this decision may find that they have mixed emotions about this process. Releasing their embryos marks the end of their family building. Also, by donating their embryos they are separating themselves from their embryos and this usually involves a grieving process. For some families this may be a brief process, but for others it may be more lengthy and involved. There are times when one spouse is more ready to release the embryo than the other. Some individuals may find comfort in talking with a counselor, not only to explore their options, but to support them as they grieve and express their sadness. It is important to remember that grief and sadness is normal and it is helpful to acknowledge and process these very important feelings. Each person will move through these emotions in their own way and there is no “right or wrong” way to grieve.
As families explore their feelings, they will want to examine all the options that they have for their embryos remaining in frozen storage. Speaking with a counselor who is familiar with all the options and the process involved with each option empowers the family to make the best decision for their family. We would hope that individuals who have embryos remaining in storage, would seek to resolve their ambivalence about releasing their embryos, take steps to become united and determined to donate their embryos to another family.



I have been eagerly expecting my medial protocol for our March transfer (which is fast approaching) to arrive any day! Much to my excitement, it came by email on Friday.

Recently, Josh and I completed the lab work and checked off the requirements from our checklist; except two which have to be completed at the NEDC. Partial shipment of the meds, the estrace and lupron, have arrived. The progesterone will arrive closer to the transfer date.

It’s all becoming real now! Heart flutters. Heart flutters….

My medical protocol goes as follows: Begin Lupron injections 2/13, continue birth control until 2/16, go to NEDC for ultrasound and lab work 2/21, begin Estrace 2/23, go to NEDC for ultrasound and lab work 3/14, start progesterone injections 3/15 (really getting real)! We will be in the homestretch for a TRANSFER DATE OF MARCH 19, 2014!!

Heart flutters…heart flutters. Like literally, I’m getting butterflies typing this.

If you are reading this, and you’re on your own infertility journey, don’t give up!! This will be my 4th attempt using third party reproduction. Looking back, I see the first two attempts (what I used to label as failed attempts) as stepping stones to a successful third transfer, which brought us our son.

The first attempt- using donor oocytes at a different clinic, the second attempt-using donated embryos at the NEDC, and finally- getting pregnant on the third attempt- using donated embryos at the NEDC. We are excited to be starting another stepping stone, God willing, to bring John Luke a sibling(s).

Being a Minority


A friend of mine recently posted a very insightful blog on her site, and with her permission, I’m duplicating some of it here….

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that that in 2012 there were 9,134,000 women with children under the age of three.  6,334,000 of those women work and 2,595,000 of those women work 35 or more hours a week.  These are my peeps, other full time working moms.  What do these numbers tell me?  They tell me that only 1/3 women with itty bitty kiddos work and that only 2/5 women with itty bitty kiddos who do work, work full time.  What this also means is that I am squarely a minority.  Being a minority doesn’t bother me per se and it  isn’t necessarily a negative, but what it does mean is that social policy and culture in the US often does not cater to my needs (or desires, dreams or hopes for that matter).

Being a minority in this context feels lonely sometimes.  Trying to navigate a world that feels like it is designed for non-working moms (people really) is frustrating.  Juggling full time work with itty bitty people is HARD, and unless you do it yourself, you have NO CLUE just how HARD.  2/3 of moms get the luxury of more time with their babies that I do.  2/3 of moms don’t have to squish their life into a box built for non-working moms.  I am reminded of this reality every time I try to sign [Brae/Sienna] up for preschool, music, swimming, visit a museum, go to the library, etc.  Most preschools are designed around a 9-11:30 time frame, swim class is offered at 10am on Tuesday, music is offered at 1:15 on Wednesdays, mommy matinees are offered during the classic work day, story times at the library are the during the traditional work day, DMV, DEQ and SSA close at 5, doctor and dentist offices operate M-F, banks are only open 9-5 etc.  Sure, there are a few evening and weekend options, which I try (and must for lack of other options) to take advantage of, and there are few preschools that have caught onto the fact some moms have to work BEFORE 9am, but the slots are limited, the facilities are limited, the opportunities are limited.  I have to get in line with the other 2,595,000 full time working moms struggling with the same limitations.  It is frustrating to always be subjected to wait lists, long lines, early enrollment deadlines, asking for favors, all because I work full time.  No one really talks about these challenges when you are in graduate school, embarking on a profession.  No one prepares women for the sacrifices they will have to make if they choose the daunting task of being a mom and a full time professional.  I desperately hope that by the time my children begin to start and grow their families that our country will embrace social policy and cultural change in a family-centric direction.  Countries, such as Sweden, that have gone through what I will call “mini revolutions” in this respect find people are happier, production increases, and divorce rates decrease.  These seem like things ALL people can support (regardless of marital or child status), not just working moms. 


Jeremy was sick on Wednesday and because we had an ice storm my travel and interview plans were scrapped so I had the ability to have work at home day.  With two three year olds this can be challenging, but they were happy to have me home and did remarkably well allowing me to get my work done.  So I bring you observations and conversations from a work at home day:

Upon waking up I greeted both of them and they asked if I was going to be home.  I said I would definitely be home for the morning but I might go into the office if Daddy was feeling okay.  Maria began crying.  I picked her up and rocked her as she pitifully said “Grown-ups come back?”  Yes, Maria grown-ups come back.  Grant replied “But you know…sometimes grown-ups stay home.”

Later on:

Me: Buddy, it’s time for you to get dressed.

Grant: Not until you finish your homework.

Me: I have lots of homework.

Grant: You just try you best, Mommy.

After lunch:

Maria: Mommy, are you done working yet?

Me: No, I won’t be finished until after your nap.
Maria: Oohhh….it’s taking FOR AGES.

Further after lunch while I was on the phone with someone who spoke very limited English and was using a translator:

Grant: MOMMY!  I pooped in my diaper!!!!

After I got off the phone I asked him why he didn’t tell me when he had to go.

Grant: You were so busy workin’.

Me: But you could have told me you had to go.

Grant: I will tell you next time.  That’s the plan.

Bribery to play in the snow at lunch went a long way for morning peace.  They played well together, painted some pictures, and our normal screen time limits were lifted.  We bundled up and played outside for a little bit, but the snow was solid and when trying to make snow angels they just stayed right on top of the ice covered snow.  Maria was bummed she couldn’t easily shovel like we’ve done before.  However, we were able to get in a little snow soccer.

As we came into the last hour and a half before nap the TV was turned off and they did relatively well playing with each other.  Their bedroom door has been adorned with stickers, adding to the collection left by the previous owner and My Little Ponies and Ninja Turtles ride well together on a flatbed trailer and a garbage truck.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to work from home on occasion.  However, between managing my normal workload and managing a house at the same time, I’m ready for my own nap!