ANATOMY SCAN and FINAL POST

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Josh and I went for my Anatomy Scan this week at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  Not only would we confirm the gender, but see if both babies are developing normally.  I was 19 weeks on the day of the appointment, half-way through my pregnancy.  They determined my due date to be January 31st, 2015.

We are happy to announce we are having a BOY and a GIRL!!  To add to our excitement and relief both babies appear perfectly healthy.  Baby A is a boy weighing 9 oz, and Baby B is a girl weighing 10 oz.  Both heartbeats were within normal range.

Although there are no guarantees until both arrive healthy and in our arms, we were relieved to get this scan behind us.  With four months or less until their arrival, there is much to be done.  We are trying to transition John Luke from his crib to a toddler bed, and need to soon start potty training.

With a girl/boy combo we will have to update the nursery to make it more gender neutral.  Also, we plan to turn our formal dining room into a playroom.  It’s right off the kitchen and den making it the best location for me to keep an eye on them while preparing meals and working around the house.

Since we will put the twins in what is now John Luke’s nursery, we’ve decided to put his room upstairs.  The plan originally was for him to sleep with us, but since neither of us can sleep with him in the bed (he’s a kickboxer), we will see how he does in a room by himself.  I’m sure, like getting him to sleep through the night, this will be a battle.

Which leads me to my next point: it is bittersweet for me, but this will be my last post.  I need to prepare for the busy months ahead and free some things from my schedule for after the twins arrive.  I have enjoyed sharing my story, and getting to know some of you who have written in (most notably Sarah Mann Herndon, a new blogger for NEDC).

Sarah contacted me through the blogs and we became fast friends.  We have had so much in common from our infertility stories to the effects of the medicines, our expectations about upcoming transfers, how we will tell our children they are embryo adopted, etc.

It is with some sadness I am saying goodbye, but I know I’m passing on the torch to someone who will connect with women, on many levels, who are struggling with infertility.  Her passion about embryo adoption and the stories she has shared with me already- will enlighten you and encourage you.  You will read her blogs feeling like you’ve met a new friend and confidante.  Just as I have.

If you are still on your infertility journey- The best advice I can leave you with is simple.  Never ever give up on your dream for a child and always, always persevere.  You too have a story.  It’s just waiting to be told.

“When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”  Author Unknown

 photo“Where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith”  Author Robert Brault

INSENSITIVE COMMENTS

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If you really don’t want to know how a pregnant women is feeling-don’t ask!

Recently, a dear friend asked “How are you feeling?”  To which I replied I was feeling good, but I’ll feel better after my next ultrasound.  I told her I wasn’t having as many symptoms as in the beginning.  I still felt pregnant and was starting to show, but was worried I might have lost one of the babies.

It is a common fear of early twin pregnancies, especially since Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs in 21-30% of multifetal pregnancies in the first trimester (according to the American Pregnancy Association).

Her response was, “That shows you have too much time on your hands if you are worried about that.”  This reaction bothered me on several levels.

First, I detest when people dismiss your worry as something insignificant.  Things that bother some of my friends or family does not worry me.  I don’t discount it as irrelevant when they express their concerns to me.

Second, she’s never gone through infertility and has no concept of how hard it was to be able to say, “We’re carrying twins!”  In my 11th week of shots (with a sore bum), I can truly say, she has no idea what we have gone through.  She jokes she can get pregnant on birth control.  Love you girl, but good for you!  My babies didn’t come so easy, and I won’t dismiss losing one so easy either.

Third, because I fear miscarrying a twin means in her words, “ I must have too much time on my hands,” infuriates me.  My well intended friend is always making comments about how much “free time” Stay-At-Home moms have.  I don’t want to debate the challenges of Working-Moms vs Stay-At-Home Moms, but there are few myths out there about Stay-At-Home moms.  It’s not a competition- both face advantages and disadvantages.

NO one wins in this argument.  Both make tremendous sacrifices.  When working moms go to work, they take their child to a caretaker.  I am the caretaker.  That is my job!  I take on hours of volunteer work outside the home that often feels like work, I just don’t get paid for it.  We do without so I can stay home.  I respect and admire the challenges working moms face in trying to juggle it all.  I hope they do the same for moms that work inside the home.

Another CPA friend who is on maternity leave with her third child said to me, “This Stay-At-Home mom stuff is not all it’s cracked up to be.”  She was considering staying home full-time to care for her three children.  She recently mentioned she wants to go back to work and give it some more thought.

I feel blessed to be a stay-at-home mom.  I also realize many moms simply don’t have a choice whether to work or stay home.  We sacrificed for years so that I could stay home.  This is a privilege, but it didn’t come at a small price.  We waited to start our family until we were financially able to raise a family on one income.  Unknowingly- while focusing on our careers- we waited until I was no longer able to have biological children.

We all make sacrifices for our family.  I have the highest respect for moms who have to work everyday to better the lives of their children.  My family has to make sacrifices for me to be able to stay-at-home.  Maybe we should be more sensitive to the struggles each other face in trying to balance it all.

 

IT’S TWINS!!

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It is with excitement (and some hesitation) I announce- We’re pregnant with twins!! My excitement is for obvious reasons, but the hesitation is due to a couple of factors.

First, I worry about adding more pain for couples who have gone through transfer cycles and didn’t get pregnant. Second, I’m still only 7 weeks. Until we get through the first trimester and beyond, Josh and I are cautious to celebrate too soon.

Because of my high hcg, we had suspected twins. My beta more than doubled the first 48 hours. I also had more symptoms this pregnancy than with John Luke. We did some research online, and found that it could go either way. I could have a really strong singleton- although– my hcg also fell within the twin range. During my phone consultation, Dr. Keenan confirmed my number was in the twin range; and said we won’t know for sure until the 6 week ultrasound.

At the ultrasound, Josh and I anxiously waited until the nurse practitioner at NEDC said, “There are two babies and two heartbeats.” She’d also said both babies measurements and heartbeats were within normal range. Baby A’s heartbeat was 117 and Baby B’s heartbeat was 107. I had asked if the 107 seemed low. She replied, “No, anything over 100 was within normal.”

Hearing “two babies and two heartbeats” was one of those surreal moments of my life. Going through infertility, we had always dreamed of having twins. We’ll have to take it one day at a time (at least until I am further along). Even so we are feeling blessed!! I also feel a little melancholy for those couples whose transfers didn’t take.

I share my success story for others to know embryo adoption can work. If you’re still struggling to become a parent, I’m sorry for your loss each time you go through a treatment, and you don’t get the answer you desire. I pray you find your success story.

18 MONTH CHECK-UP

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John Luke had his 18 month well baby visit and vaccinations this week. He’s in the 90th percentile of height measuring 32 inches long; and in the 85th percentile of weight clocking in at 27 lbs.

The pediatrician asked if I had any concerns. I told him I didn’t have concerns, but I had questions about how to approach some behavioral issues which could become concerns if not addressed appropriately.

John Luke is going through a hitting/slapping phase. I’ve read this is normal at his age. I’m just not sure how to discipline this behavior. I don’t want to slap his hand, then tell him not to hit. That would be ironic and confusing to a toddler.

My pediatrician suggested we implement time-out. To put him in a safe and confined area (such as a pack-n-play) for a short time. To let him cry and throw-a-fit-because he will. Then when time-out is over, reinforce that we love him, and send him back to playing.

My only other question was about John Luke’s speech. He talks fine, it’s just very limited. He’s still only speaking about 10-15 words. Dada, Mama, hot, cool, outside, ball, thank you, hi, bye, yes or yeah, no, go. The doctor said this is typical for boys, and at around 2 yrs old, they will often have an explosion of words, and start talking in at least two word sentences. John Luke spontaneously said poodle recently while I was reading to him. I know words are sinking in, they are just slow to come back out.

The pediatrician asked if we’d weaned from the bottle. I said we had, but we were still weaning from the pacifier. I replied that we are trying to limit to bedtime, and occasionally when we are out. My theory is it keeps him from putting other more unsavory things in his mouth.

Next week, we have our 6 week ultrasound at NEDC. My 2nd hcg came back at 700 which Dr. Keenan seemed pleased was a good number. We are anxious and excited to get our first glimpse at our new little bean!   We are praying for good health.

 

CONNECTING THROUGH EMBRYO ADOPTION

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About a year ago, another embryo adoption mom contacted me through the blog on the NEDC website. She wanted to talk with other moms who’ve been through embryo adoption. We’ve been Facebook messaging ever since. Almost a year to the date of our initial contact, I finally got to meet Sarah, her husband Tim, and daughter Vivi.

With Sarah’s permission, I wanted to post how we connected and have been sharing our experiences. We agreed it’s important to connect with other embryo adopting families. We are a small community. With the web and social media, it’s easy to stay in contact with people, around the country, who share this experience.

Sarah and I thought it might encourage others to reach out. If you are interested in pursuing embryo adoption, we thought it might inspire you to link with someone who’s been there, done that. There are so many questions about embryo adoption.

Sarah, Tim, and Vivi were in Tennessee for Sarah’s mock transfer at NEDC. We agreed to meet up for dinner, at the Chop House in Pigeon Forge, to finally meet in person! It was like meeting up with an old friend. We were excited for Vivi and John Luke to meet. They are only three months apart. Tim and Josh are both in the medical field. We hoped they would have common interest as well.

It was therapeutic to talk with a family who shares a similar story through embryo adoption. We have so much in common from things such as: the bond you feel with your remaining embryos, the effects of the meds and the shots, the home-study updates, to our birthing experiences!!

Another NEDC mom, who’s contacted me through the blog, just gave birth to twins about a month ago. I look forward to staying in touch with Sarah and other embryo adoption families I meet along the way.

Here is a pic of me and my new friend Sarah. And our tots- Vivi and John Luke.

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BUMP #2

Tuesday, I went to my primary doctor for my blood pregnancy test. I was feeling good that I might get a positive result. I’ve had so many symptoms similar to when I was pregnant with John Luke, I was thinking, I might even be surprised if the test were negative. I never thought before embryo adoption I’d be saying this; but since, I’ve already had a successful pregnancy, I knew what signs to look for.

Wednesday morning all the “quirks and twinges” I’ve been feeling, along with a few other symptoms (such as nausea), were validated. Mary, the IVF nurse with NEDC, called to confirm I was indeed pregnant!! My hcg was 240 and progesterone was 61. I go back to my local doctor, Thursday, for a second blood test to make sure my levels are doubling.

For now we are cautiously optimistic. We’ve only told a handful of family members and a few friends. I am guarded to post this so early…however…I know…I will share with you whatever happens. The good, the bad, and the ugly. All of us (who are warriors through infertility) have a story. Whatever happens, this is a part of my story.

We still have a few milestones: the 2nd hcg test, hearing the heartbeat, and getting through the first trimester. I’m not going to worry myself about things that may never happen. I’m feeling, I will have good news to report in the coming months.

Good luck to all those who went through this cycle. I wish you the best as well!

Here is a picture of a basket filled with baby stuff I made to tell Josh the news.

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TRANSFER WEEK

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There is always a buzz around our house transfer week. It’s the anticipation of becoming pregnant. This will be my third transfer through the NEDC. My first didn’t take, but the second transfer brought my amazing son. Hopefully, this time will bring a sibling for John Luke.

Tuesday, Josh and I went to Knoxville, for my final ultrasound and blood work. My lining was 9.2 mm. Josh and I were hoping for anything over 9, so we were ecstatic with the results. My lining was only 7.76 mm when I had John Luke.

The NEDC called the following day to inform me to start the Progesterone. As painful as the shots can be, it’s thrilling to get the go ahead to start the PIO. It means were getting close and its “getting real.”

Josh’s parents came from Alabama on Thursday, to watch John Luke, so we could have a few days in Knoxville to ourselves. We wanted John Luke to get reacquainted with them before we left. He enjoyed all the attention given by his grandparents. By the time we left on Saturday, we felt comfortable he would be fine without us.

It was good for Josh and me to get away just the two of us. This was only the second time I’ve spent the night away from John Luke in 19 months. We did a little shopping then went out to dinner- and for me a Margarita! Hopefully, it will be my last one for 9 months!!

My transfer wasn’t until 12:30PM. We slept in that morning, then went for breakfast at the hotel. I started getting giddy that it was almost time. I was anxious to find out how many of the three embryos being thawed had survived. We went back to our room to start getting ready.

The NEDC asked us to be there 30 minutes early. We arrived at the NEDC just before noon. The nurse called us back. We were met by Dr. Keenan and Dr. Carol Sommerfelt, the embryologist. Carol handed us the picture of our embryos. All three had survived!! They were graded 4ab, 3ab, and 4bc.

They took me to the procedure room for the transfer.   Everything went well, and I got to see the embryos being transferred on the ultrasound screen. Dr. Keenan said, “The embryos looked good, and we would hope for the best. Maybe we will get as lucky this time as last time.”

The nurse wheeled me back to recovery, where I had to lay flat for 30 minutes. Feeling good and hopeful, Josh and I went for a quick lunch at Calhoun’s, then back to the hotel for bed rest.

The recovery nurse told us I could go to my primary doctor for a blood pregnancy test in 9 days, which would be on May 27th. Nine days and counting…butterflies.

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