The Accusation


Brae started going to our current daycare/preschool when he was just 3 months old. He went there for nearly 6 years until he graduated last summer.

Sienna started going there at just 3.5 months old. She is now in their preschool program.

And Graem started going there when he was 6 months old, and is in their daycare program.

We have loved our daycare/preschool. It is a small, neighborhood, Spanish-immersion program. It is run by a husband and wife, each native Spanish speakers. She has her Masters’ in Education. The providers there are all native speakers. There is absolutely no technology. The kids sing, dance, play outside, do arts and crafts, and learn Spanish.

The community of parents there is united and strong. There is no fancy bus to take kids on field trips. The parents volunteer. There are no fancy toys to play with; most of them are donated from parents. The summer that Sienna was born, the parents got together to re-vamp the front yard. We showed up early on a Saturday morning, garden tools in tow, and weeded and planted.

And, just this last week, after a particularly tough several days, a group of parents showed up again early on a Saturday morning, care package in hand.

They did that because of an accusation. An ugly, viscous accusation made by a an ex-employee. A disgruntled ex-employee, as it turns out.

To better understand the reason for the care package, I need to rewind to two weeks ago. Tygh came home with the kids one evening, confused. The owners had pulled him aside, and crying and in broken English, told them that someone had filed a complaint with the Department of Human Services. The best that Tygh could make out, someone had accused the male owner of inappropriately touching children. They handed Tygh a piece of paper with the case worker’s name on it. The male owner’s license was being suspended while DHS investigated.

I took the piece of paper from Tygh, and immediately started calling my parent friends. I think I received 60 text messages that night.

I wish I could say that the first thought that popped into my head was, “That’s ridiculous. Who could possibly say such a thing?”, but it wasn’t. And not because I ever believed it to be true, but because when there is an accusation like that, I think the natural reaction from any parent is to just stop. And think. To comb your memory bank for even the smallest indication that maybe, just maybe, could there be even a shred of truth?

And I came up empty. And so did the other parents. We just did. not. believe. it. Not the owner that we knew. Not the owner that our kids adored.

And so, we rallied. We left messages for the case worker that night. She called us back the next morning, overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

She confirmed (kind of) that the accusation was from an ex-employee. But we had the accusation wrong.

We aren’t sure what happened, but something clearly had gotten lost in translation (perhaps literally) between the case worker and the owners. The accusation had nothing to do with inappropriate touching, at least not of a sexual nature.

The accusation was that the male owner had slapped the forearm of a child, one in particular, in discipline.

We were again taken aback by this accusation. And, again, I think each of the parents stopped. Again, we mined our memory banks for anything we had witnessed, or thought we had witnessed, that would lead us to believe that this accusation was true.

And, again, nothing. We just did not believe it. Our children had never, not once, come home and mentioned that this male owner had ever inappropriately touched them (sexually or in discipline).

Over the next several days, numerous parents were interviewed (including me). The case worker confirmed that not one parent voiced any concern, including the parent of the child who had allegedly been hit.

The case worker said that, unfortunately, these sorts of accusations are made regularly. Each has to be investigated (as well they should be!), and each has to go through the paces. This would be no different. She said that if she continued to find no evidence to support the allegation, it should be resolved in a couple of weeks, and the male owner could return with his license in tact.

But, the damage has been done. You can see it on the faces of the staff, and the owners. They have been destroyed. Their reputation, their life’s work, their intentions, their love for these kids, has all been questioned.

And it makes me sad.

It makes me sad for the ex-employee who felt she needed to do this. It makes me sad for resources that could have been spent on a legitimate claim. It makes me sad for our little community.

I am not naïve. If I thought, for even a moment, that this accusation had merit, we would seriously consider pulling our kids out and going elsewhere.

We do not. That said, I am all in favor of a full investigation that will ultimately clear them. I am all in favor of any kind of education or teaching that may come out of this that will remind and reinforce to the owners and providers that in our daycare/preschool settings, we do not touch kids. Period.

But, I’m still very sad.

These are words you cannot take back. The accusation has been made. And, for some, that will be all they care about and remember.

My Defective Ovary

I’m having surgery soon. I think Jeremy and I both had this as a very real possibility in our minds and now it’s coming true. I’ve dealt with ovarian pain on an off since I was 16. Ever since the babies were born, I’ve had periods of intense pain on my right ovary. One time led to an appendectomy in 2012. Turns out my appendix was fine, but I had a bloody cyst that was the source of my “textbook” appendicitis symptoms.

I had an ultrasound last May that revealed a small “normal” cyst. My doctor suggested that I might actually have endometriosis because this particular cyst would not cause the pain I had been experiencing. We had always been told that our infertility was strictly male factor, but now perhaps we were both responsible. In any event, I started with a series of supplements prescribed by an integrative practitioner and had a great deal of relief in my symptoms of suspected endometriosis. I was thrilled to be healing.

Well, this week, pain returned with a vengeance and came to a head Wednesday night as I was in tears. Jeremy states that I have a freakishly high pain tolerance so, if I was in tears, it was bad. The only way the pain was dulled was by a shot of whiskey, so I thank Jeremy for his enjoyment of the stuff. I managed to get an appointment with a nurse practitioner at my OBGYN’s office. By the grace of God the ultrasound tech also had a cancellation and I was also able to see the OBGYN who explained that I had a complex cyst on my ovary and it needed to come out. This wasn’t the little normal one they saw last May, but larger and certainly not “normal.” There is a chance they will have to remove my ovary, but hopefully it’s not damaged by this funky looking cyst.

I’m relieved that they took my complaints to heart and took quick action to diagnose me. For now, I will deal with the pain and, while I’m not happy that I have almost a week to think about the surgery, I’m hopeful that my pain will soon go away and I can get back to normal life. Prayers for us all are greatly appreciated.



This week, I was able to see the beautiful little boy growing inside me. My anatomy scan was done and I had the outcome for which I had hoped. The scan showed a sweet little boy who is growing strong with no signs of distress. Ultrasounds can be so comforting to see that baby growing inside and is such a precious open window into the world unseen. The pictures were not as clear as I hoped they would be as he was asleep and quite tucked inside. The heart rate was in the 140’s. He is measuring at 21 weeks. The highlight of my ultrasound was seeing him yawn! These pictures left me with a peacefulness knowing he is alive, breathing, and finishing his growth-time inside his comfortable environment.

Before you were born, I carried you under my heart.
-Mandy Harrison



Losing Brae


Over the last few weeks, since we returned from Disney World, since Brae started kindergarten up again, and since I went back to work, something almost imperceptible has changed.

But I have noticed it.

And it makes me so very, very sad.

And, a little bit proud.

We are slowly losing Brae.

He is growing up. Our grip on him has loosened. He’s coming into his own. He is a boy. A school-aged kid.

He has his own ideas, opinions, and interests, and he articulates them like an adult.

He has manners (when he chooses to use them) that rivals most colleagues of mine.

He has sleepovers. At other people’s houses. And he packs his own bag.

He picks out his clothes, knows the way he wants to wear his hair, and can make himself his favorite snack.

But, it’s not just these things. If it was just these things, I may feel only a little sad.

But I feel very sad.

And the thing that makes me the most sad is that, when I pick him up from a long day at school, he climbs in the back of the car, and is silent the whole way home. No more gibberish about his days at day care, or his days in preschool. Those days are gone. Instead, he gazes tiredly out the back of the window, watching the world go by. He’s exhausted from a big day of learning, playing, and navigating social norms with kids of all ages. Fatigued by making new friends and keeping the old. Labored by mounting homework, school expectations, and little boy responsibilities. He looks worn from the weight of the world on his tiny, kindergarten shoulders.

This makes me sad because he is experiencing real, grown-up emotions, and doesn’t feel the need to seek me out for comfort. Instead, he just wants to sit with his feelings, and figure them out.

This also makes me a little proud because I feel we have done a good job, so far, of equipping him for the world. He is independent, smart, personable, appropriately cautious, and curious. And yet, if we are to fully complete our job in preparing him, we need to allow him to feel those uncomfortable, unavoidable life feelings, and figure out how to deal with them.

But, he’s also still just a little six-year-old boy, that I see still as my six-month-old firstborn. And, I’m sad that I cannot protect him from uncomfortable feelings, and even sadder that he doesn’t expect me to.

brae kindergarten




When I began the journey of embryo adoption, I never thought much about the other embryo’s that may not be used after the first transfer. I had been told at the clinic that they encouraged parents to use the leftover embryos for siblings. At the time, my mind was so concentrated on having just one baby. I had experienced so many failed attempts to conceive over the last six years that just having a successful pregnancy was the big dream of accomplishment. After my daughter was born, I immediately felt a great emotional weight as to what would be the fate of the last two embryos. This was neither something I nor my husband had expected. In fact, with the miscarriages, money spent, and disappointment we were still carrying a lot of emotional baggage after years of trying to conceive. We both had similar levels of emotions and mentality regarding another pregnancy.

As I came to my check-up six weeks after the birth, I was feeling so distressed about the decision of keeping our last two embryos. I tried to put it off as long as possible. We decided that we would wait to make a decision on the embryos that were in storage. As adopting parents, I was surprised that we would be so emotionally attached to the remaining embryos that were not biologically ours. I feel that time helped us make the best decision possible. This is defiantly a hard subject to offer an opinion on, as every family has to be in a healthy place to have more children that are wanted and can be cared for. I do feel that there is a level of guilt that can be attached to giving up sibling embryos. That is one of the reasons that I felt we needed to wait on this decision. I really wanted to make sure the decision was right and was made without obligation or guilt.

My daughter was a year-and-half when we finally decided to use the leftover siblings. We were also timing out with our combined age limit. One of the biggest fears that haunted me was that I would not be able to conceive and would feel damaged by wanting “that baby all over again.” I really had to get myself emotionally ready to go through another transfer. My husband was scared we would have twins and have to take too much on at one time. It was a challenge for both of us in different ways. In the end, we are thankful for a sibling for my daughter and my husband is thankful we are having just one more. I feel very relieved to emotionally bring closure to our adoption as we have used all the embryos from our group and feel we made the right choice for our family and my adopted daughter. I am very blessed to achieve two pregnancies and bring these two beautiful babies into the world. It will forever be my greatest accomplishment!

Back to Work


A few weeks ago, I started back to work.

Although this was my third maternity leave, and actually a much longer leave than I had with Brae or Sienna, it was still excruciating to return.

I love my job, and I love the people I work with. But they cannot compete with the sweet boy’s face that I would snuggle with each morning.

I am grateful that I had the extended leave with Graem, especially after his sudden (and scary) entry into this world. I am grateful that I was able to be at home when Brae started kindergarten, and I could walk him to the school bus. I am grateful that I was able to keep Sienna home from preschool on certain days, and just have “girl dates” with her.

I am grateful that I got to watch summer turn to fall, and fall turn to winter, each from my home window. I am grateful that in a season of tremendous transition for our family, I was able to be at home for many months.

The first day back was chaos. I was prepared – or so I thought – for it. What I was not prepared for, however, was who would be the source of the chaos.

Brae. It was going to be his first day in morning extended care at his school. Up until then, he had been able to take the bus to kindergarten. Well, since his bus doesn’t come until 8:45, and I need to leave for work before then, the plan was for me to drop him off around 8.

He did not support that plan. The first day, he ran around the exterior of the school, as I’m lugging Graem, and trying to keep track of Sienna. Brae was crying hysterically, refusing to go in. Eventually, the teacher came out, and coaxed him in. My heart broke.

The drop off for Sienna and Graem went much more smoothly. Sienna took comfort in the fact she now got to watch over her little brother, and Graem, well let’s face it, the kid is just easy. I called his daycare a couple of times for the first few days, and then stopped. I kept getting the same report – he doesn’t cry, he’s a great sleeper, etc. That mended my heart a little.

Being back in the office itself has been a bit shocking. Kind of like jumping into an ice-cold pool. Eventually, you warm up, but it takes a while.

There were four of us coworkers who all had babies (boys!) at the same time, and so were all on maternity leave at the same time. One gal decided to not come back at all. Another gal, and a dear friend of mine, took a different job. Then there were two.

It is hard being a working mom. But, it’s also hard to be a stay-at-home mom, I’m sure. As a sweet friend told me, she considers me a “working stay-at-home mom.” I like that. My heart is definitely at home, and when I am home, my time is invested in my kids. I feel very involved, and I’m grateful that I have a profession, and a job, that allows me to do that.

And I just pray that my kids come to understand, and respect that decision.


My Eyes

I looked into my own eyes. I never thought I would do that. But while brushing Maria’s teeth, I saw my own eyes. Green. The same shade. The same dark ring. Neither genetic parent has green eyes.

It made me stop. I told her to look in the mirror. We looked at each other’s eyes. She agreed we had the same eyes. “I have green eyes like you, Mommy!” I don’t know how to describe the feeling. But it was certainly God-breathed.

I don’t know the exact scientific explanation of her green eyes. Maybe it’s epigenetics at work – the impact of my blood on the expression of her genes. Maybe it’s the combination of genetic parents’ hazel and blue eyes. Maybe it was a random genetic mutation. I don’t know. But I don’t think I need to know.

We get told that Grant and Maria look like “ours” often. Strangers comment. It always makes me pause. I’m learning to accept the comments. Embrace them. It used to make me uncomfortable. Like I was hiding something by letting the comment slide. But I’m learning that the comment needs no explanation or correction. Like the comment this weekend that Maria has “good hair like her mom.” My hair takes a lot more work to get that smooth, but I let the comment slide. I took it in. “Like her mom.” Me. Mine. I’m so thankful these two children are mine.



I am 20 weeks and I can’t believe I am halfway done! Already with this pregnancy, I have been so much more relaxed and I have done nothing to prepare! I am feeling a little behind now. I am feeling the baby move more each day. I received my spinal bifida test and it was normal. Thank God! I am so relieved things are staying healthy at this point. Next week, I get an anatomy scan done and, yes, I am running behind on that, too. Basically my doctor and midwife friends have all left so I have been interviewing people to take their place. It has been a struggle to find a perfect fit. I am working through my birth-plan and trying to decide how to proceed with all of that. I feel buying anything for the baby has been the last priority. I have been more concerned about having the birth I really want in the end. I live in a smaller city with fewer options and providers for health care.

I did schedule my newborn photos and am trying to decide if I want to do the 3-D ultrasound pictures of the baby. I didn’t do them with my daughter as I was unsure of the exposure risks. However, while I know there are people who feel this may be an unsafe exposure on the baby, I am still looking into this and working out my feelings on getting these done (as this will be my last pregnancy). There seems to be so many more tests and interventions than ever before related to pregnancy. I do feel women have to really educate themselves on all tests and stand strong for what they don’t want or is not necessary.

My husband and I are currently talking over all the newborn interventions at birth. As a pediatrician, it has been emotionally challenging for him to stop and evaluate policy over my wishes and feelings. As a mom, I have challenged him to give me information on what is necessary and defend himself over policy and what he believes is good for our baby. This was definitely the monster in the closet I was waiting to bring out way before the birth of this baby. I have looked back at the birth of my daughter with questions of why we did some of the interventions that were policy at the hospital and am not feeling so comfortable with all of that! I will be blogging more about those interventions after our discussion.

People tell me I am so lucky to live with a baby doctor!! My response is- not always- as it can be educationally and emotionally challenging in debating heart issues verses policy and medical interventions. In the end, my husband has a lot of respect for mommies and their babies, especially me!

Graem’s 6 Month Check-Up


Graem is now “officially” 6 months old. Yet, with his prematurity, the doctor still considers him more like 5 months.

A silver lining to having a premature baby is that I really do feel like I’ve gotten to experience the “baby” phase perhaps longer than others.

That said, I find myself vacillating between wanting him to start scooting around, and relishing in his immobility. I find myself thankful that he seems to be slowly weaning off nursing, and yet grimacing that these precious days are at their sunset.

I will him to be a “normal” 6-month-old baby, and yet scared to death for him to be so because I know physically he is not ready.

His 6-month-appointment was typical. He’s 75th percentile for height (over 27 inches) and 25th percentile for weight (16.8 lbs). He can roll over from his tummy to his back, although not consistently. He has not rolled from his back to his tummy. His only real method of moving around is that he “shimmies” on his back, to and fro, using his heels as traction to propel his little body backwards and sideways.

He loves food, any kind of food. He has yet to turn his nose at any fruit or vegetable I’ve given him. For that reason, he is easily distracted when nursing, and really doesn’t care for a bottle. But he starts panting the moment he sees the food come his way.

Apparently, the doctor says this is a good thing.

His eyes have remained a dark blue. Since neither Tygh nor I have blue eyes (each green), this must be the recessive genes coming through (both our moms have blue eyes). The doctor says it is unlikely the color will change at this point, but I’m less optimistic. Brae had blue eyes still at 6 months, and now they are hazel. Sienna also had dark blue eyes at this time, and strangely, hers lightened to a sky blue/grey.

He remains the easiest, most chill baby ever. We are constantly getting comments like, “Is he always like this?”

Yes. Since he was about 2-3 months old, he’s been like this. He takes after his dad.

In fact, the only evidence that he belongs to my gene pool is his ears. They are small.

That’s about it. Everything else is all his daddy.

He and Brae have a very special, unique bond. Brae is the only person that, to this day, can get him to really belly laugh.

He and Sienna also share a remarkable relationship, but I’d say it is more like pet and owner than brother and sister. Sienna notices him occasionally, pets his head, and moves on, as he gazes longingly after her.

I went back to work last week and Graem also did superb. In fact, I stopped calling the daycare after the second day because I kept getting the same report. “El es muy tranquilo. No llora. Muy facil.” (He’s very calm. Doesn’t cry. Very easy.).

Yup, that’s just Graem.

We’ve come along way since the NICU.

graem 6 months

Graem and Sienna at his check-up. Sienna helped console him after his shots.

Birthday Blessings


Our sweet Vivienne turned two this weekend! What a celebration of life it has been in remembering our journey with our miracle baby who was born January 9th, 2013. Her birth was an awesome event that has changed our lives. Words can’t describe the anticipation and pining that I had for this sweet baby! As most Mom’s on here can know so well, there was a lot of pain before her life was connected with ours. These memories have impended my heart and I continue to pray and advocate for all the frozen embryos that need those moms with open hearts to receive these miracles.

My pregnancy with Vivienne was not easy, nor the birth and recovery after my C-section, but every time I look at her face it melts my heart to feel chosen to be her Mom. I could have never imagined that I could feel so connected to her. Even in adoption the bond can be just as strong as a biological child. This was not something I thought was possible before I went through my transfer. I thought that this baby not looking like our family or having a connection to us, it would feel strange and something I would have to work on, but that was not the case. It was an immediate loving connection. Her life is truly a celebration each day. Attached are pictures at birth and on her second birthday.