Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Commemorative Names

Do you remember that car commercial a few years ago where the mom and daughter were driving around and the mom is explaining to the daughter how she got her name? The daughter was conceived on vacation in Savannah, Georgia so they named her Savannah. Then the girl asks how her sister got her name and she looks up and on the dash is the name of the car......her sister's name. I love that commercial! It got me to thinking how people sometimes choose names for their children to commemorate where they were conceived. So I thought about my choices and realized that there are going to be very few. There is nothing romantic about straws, catheters and petri dishes! Meet my son, Petri. Hmmm....no, I don't care for that. Speculum for a girl? Don't think so. What about Stirrup for a middle name? No, not gonna happen. Hmmm.....I guess that I will have to go with more traditional name like Apple and Pilot.

Friday, August 28, 2009

We got the call!!!!!!!

I am so excited! We got the call today that we are ready to choose our embryos! I can't believe it. I am still in shock. I was so sure that it would be a year or so before we our name was up but God is good and we are next. The clinic is sending us donor profiles and we are going to choose them next week. The transfer is tentatively scheduled for November. Two pink lines would make for a wonderful Christmas present!

Right now our only concern is money. We do not have the money saved for it anymore (loaned it to a family member and won't be repaired until later next year). We are going to have to get creative to come up with the money. I am going to even quit getting my nails done. Really, I am! If you knew me you would know what a big deal this is. But a baby is more important. Another thing that I have done is monetized this blog as well as my weight loss blog. It won't bring in a lot of money but every dollar counts. So please take a moment to click on the ads on each blog each time you visit. I am already up to $60 in two days.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

When good days go bad.

You wake up in the morning enjoying the sunshine. You cuddle with your hubby for a few minutes, thankful for another day together. You eat breakfast, drink a cup of java, let the dogs out and get ready for your day. As you shower you run through your to-do list for the day and are ready to get started. Everything is going as planned and you are getting a lot done. Then it happens. Someone says something so hurtful you stand there, stunned. You can't decide if you should throw something or cry. So you do both.

Today was just such a day. I had so much planned and now I just want to crawl in a hole and hide. I was at my mom's house and my very pregnant sister shows up. As difficult as her pregnancy has been for me I have been trying to maintain a good attitude. I really have. But today my resolve crumbled. She was discussing her upcoming blessed event and asked if she thought the doctor would let both myself and my mom in for the delivery. She said "You want to be in there, don't you?". I nonchalantly said, "I don't know". Then my mother tells me that I should be in there since "this may be the only time you get to see a birth". I acted like nothing was wrong but quickly left to go home and cry.

Why do people think that we infertiles do not realize what we are missing? Not a day goes by that I do not think about babies. I try not to dwell on it but I can't help it, it is always there. And shouldn't family be more understanding than the average person? I don't expect much from the 23 year old at the grocery store that is pregnant with her 3rd child. Or the Duggar wannabe that goes to church with me. But family? You would think that they would be sensitive but sadly they are the worst offenders. And often.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Telling a child how they were conceived

For you fertiles telling your children about their conception is easy. There are many options: traditional birds & bees talk, technical talk using terms like "sperm" and "fertilization", or the "when a mommy and daddy love each other" talks. The possibilities are endless. There are even books out there to help you. For us infertiles it is not so easy. Most books do not include words like Petri dish, injection and sperm wash. And it gets even trickier when you give birth to a child that has no genetic, biological relationship to you. I am a member of a Yahoo group and one of the members there has a 4 year old daughter she was blessed with through the miracle of embryo donation. She shared her story of how she explained it to her little girl and I knew that I had to share this touching story. The following is her story:

I was also struggling with how to tell my daughter (who celebrated her 4th birthday in June) about how she came to be my daughter. The question of "to tell or not to tell" was never a question for my husband and I since our daughter has a tan (native american/hispanic) skin tone and we are light skinned. Hopefully I won't offend anyone by writing this, but I do beleive that we should "tell" our children. As long as a single person besides the mother and father of a child know about the embryo adoption the possibility of the child being "told" at some point is too great to ignore. I feel that it is best if the "telling" is done by the parents in a positive way rather than by "who knows who" in "who knows what" way "who knows when". I know that is probably easier for me to say than for people who have children who like them since there was no question that I would have to "tell" my daughter. The answer of how to tell my daughter presented itself over the summer.

Our family has a "garden" of EarthBox planters on our patio. This year we planted tomatos, corn, and watermelons. Each food had its own EarthBox. My daughter had the best time planting and watering the seeds. She was so excited when they sprouted. She called each of the sprouts "tomato babies", "corn babies" and "watermelon babies". She was thrilled when the babies were "born" (bore fruit). One day when we were picking the tomatos from the tomato EarthBox, my daughter noticed a stringy vine that had grown through and wrapped itself around the tomato plants. At the end of the vine was a single half-open bud. My daughter looked back and forth between the bud and its surrounding tomato plants, then said matter of factly "Mommy, that tomato baby doesn't look like her family." "No, he sure doesn't" I replied. I'll never forget what she did next. She petted the bud gently and then attempted to hug it and said "It's okay little tomato baby , I don't look like my family too. Mommy, why don't tomato baby and me look like our family?" I froze in panic. I'd had four years to come up with a good explanation and still didn't have one. I hugged my daughter (and the "tomato baby")! and told them that I would have to think about how to say it but that I would tell them in the morning. Then I stayed up half night and prayed that the answer would come to me. It did. When my daughter woke up the next morning the first thing out of her mouth was "Did you think about the stuff to tell me and tomato baby?". After breakfast, we went out to the patio. The half-open "tomato baby" bud had bloomed into a single perfect miniature sunflower. "MOMMY !! TOMATO BABY IS SO PRETTY
!!!!". my daughter exclaimed. "AND ,AND, AND, AND, TOMATO BABY ISN'T A TOMATO BABY SHE'S A SUNFLOWER BABY. HOW IS SHE A SUNFLOWER BABY MOMMY?" I asked my daughter to look up above the tomatos and tell me what she saw.
"The birdfeeder"
"and what's inside the birdfeedeer? "
"Yes !!! So why do you think sunflower baby doesn't look like her family?" , I asked.
"Cause we put the tomato seeds in the tomato family EarthBox and they got big and they are tomatos and the sunflower seed went down in the tomato family Earthbox and she grew up and she's a sunflower baby." she answered.
"Yes !!! They look different because they came from different kinds of seeds. So why do you think you look different from your family?" I asked.
After a moment of intense thought she responded "Because you put a tan girl seed in your tummy, Mommy ?"
"Yes, that's exactly right , because I put a tan girl seed in my tummy."..... ......... .

Since then my daughter occasionally volunteers to people, "My mommy is white but I'm tan cause my Mommy wanted to have a girl grow in her tummy but the girl seeds in her tummy wouldn't grow good and the nice people had a pretty tan girl seed and they shared the pretty tan girl seed with my Mommy and the doctor put the seed in Mommy's tummy and I got big and I was born."

I think knowing she came from a "tan girl seed that the nice people shared with Mommy and Daddy" has made my daughter feel comfortable about who she is and how she came to be at a level that is perfect for her age. I don't know if this explanation would work for everyone, but it sure has worked for us !


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Going to the Gyno

I don't know why I felt it necessary to this tidbit with all of you, but I am. This is just my annual exam. You know, the fun one where the gyno presses down on your boobies and swabs the hoo-ha. And then he asks how everything has been and the fertile answers "fine". We infertiles spend a few hours, I mean minutes, detailing the last year of poking and prodding done by your "fertility specialist". I know, I know! You are experiencing pangs of jealously that I have my very own "specialist". I am special like that. Since my last visit I have been diagnosed with PCOS (that is polycystic ovarian syndrome for those of you not "in the know"), thyroid antibodies and benign uterine polyps. Some of us get to have all of the fun!!!

Since we will are preparing to transfer a few babycicles later this year it is important that my pap comes back normal. Well, I always want it to be normal, but now more than ever. Through the years we have had so many speed bumps and train wrecks that it is scary being so close to doing something new. This most recent endeavor has gone quite smoothly and that really scares me!! I should be thankful, I know. But there has been nothing easy for us in the baby making department and this is all new territory for me.

So I guess that my prayer is that all is well and the hoo-ha is healthy! =)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Less-than-cute Babies

Say what you will, but not all babies are cute. There are the googly eyes ones, the scary hair ones, the bald-scrunched-up face ones, the screaming ones that you have no idea how they really look because they never stop crying, and the just downright you're-so-ugly-even-your-mom-knows-it ones. Don't go acting all pious on me! You know you have had these thoughts about people's kids. If you haven't you are lying! And it is almost like a little bit of justice when you see one of these babies being carried by the extremely fertile woman that feels like it is her mission in life to rub it in your face. I look at it as a little smile from God. ;-)

But I love these babies. When you see a beautiful, adorable, pleasant mannered baby you can't help but want one. Your heart melts and you glance around to see if anyone is looking and how far it is to the door wondering if you can make it outside without anyone noticing. But the other ones.....not so much. You feel a little bit of relief that you are not having to tote this little one around. Don't get me wrong, I will love any baby that God gives us. I am not particular, though I will be honest and say that I want a cute baby. Don't we all? This does not make me a bad person. This just makes me a little bit vain. Besides, I have had to work hard, wait long and pay big to have a baby. I think that I have earned a healthy baby most of all, but I have earned a cute one as well. I'm just saying!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Positives of Infertility

There are so many bad things about infertility that sometimes we just need to find a few positives in there somewhere. So here ya go, the positives of this crazy roller coaster ride:

*You become an expert on the inner working of the uterus and ovaries.

*You get to learn to self-administer injections.

*You know more medical terms than the average doctor.

*Your dogs are your kids. You can dress them, talk baby talk to them, and have enough room for them to sleep in your bed.

*You can legally lock said "kids" in a cage.

*When your kids ask how babies are made you can honestly say "At the doctor's office".

*You can hold your own in a retirement center when the seniors discuss their ailments and diseases.

*The RE's office is like your very own CHEERS: where everybody knows your name.

*You get very good at standing on your head.

*Mani's and Pedi's..need I say more.

*The money that you would have spent on diapers and formula can be used for designer handbags.

*You can have sex in the back seat of a car and not worry about getting knocked up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our Infertility Resume

I saw someone else do this on another blog and decided to steal the idea. This post will give a rundown on our infertility journey and I will update it as we continue and a link will be provided for easy navigation.

July 1997:
Married and using birth control pills to prevent pregnancy (ha ha...the jokes on me!)

Oct 1997:
"Decided" to have a baby; quit bcp, 2 pink lines expected within a month or so. (rolling my eyes now)

June 1998:
Suspicion that things were not "right", consulted a ob/gyn.

July 1998:
First laparoscopy to check for suspected endometriosis (none was found). Hubby had a semen analysis and the result was a low count. On to a urologist.

Sept. 1998:
Count still low. Chances minimal at best. No real diagnosis except weight. No insurance coverage for infertility so we decided to "just adopt" while praying for a miracle.

Dec. 2003:
Contacted by a friend about a possible adoption. Mother due in August but considering abortion. Spoke with mother and she agreed to forgo abortion and meet us.

Jan. 2004:
Met with birth mother and 2 lawyers (one in her state, one in ours). All going well. Began telling family and friends about "our baby".

March 2004:
Everything still going well and planning a trip to see "my baby" on the ultrasound and to find out the gender. In my heart I know it is a boy. A week before scheduled trip we receive an email from birth mother telling us she needs time to consider what she wants to do, having second thoughts. Our world crashed around us and that was the last that we ever heard from her. Later we learned that she chose to go through an agency and that family fell through when the baby ( I was right, it was a boy) was born with Down's. He ended up with a family that only wanted children with Down's and our heart is lightened by this news.

Sept. 2004:
Said that we would not do adoption again. Received a call about a baby girl and jumped into the fire again. (the full story can be read in my blog Losing Abbie).

Jan 2005:
Brought our miracle home.

April 2005:
Abbie is no longer in our home. Decided to no longer pursue adoption and went the medical route.

The rest of 2005:
Hubby had another semen analysis and it was discovered no sperm were present.
I had a laparoscopy and severe endometriosis was found. Had to have a laparotomy (like a c-section except no baby, just scars) to remove endo and cysts. Left tube is blocked as well.

Began seeing an RE (reprocuctive endocrinologist) and a urologist for hubby. Hubby still has no sperm at all and a diagnosis of Sertoli-Cell only (fancy name for a genetic problem that causes no sperm). After several more tests and surgeries for me it is determined that we have 3 options: IVF after surgery for hubby to find spermies (small chance, high cost, and genetic testing had to be done before sperm could be used); IUI or IVF with donor sperm; remain childless. We chose to wait and pray and seek counsel.

More procedures (feel like a pin cushion at this time) and decided to try 4 rounds of IUI with a donor. (For those that know me in real life, this is not widely known and we would like to keep it this way) None were successful and we took a year off.

Began seeing another RE to discuss options. Decided to begin embryo adoption, but needed another surgery to remove a polyp. Currently I am healing from surgery and awaiting an embryo match.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Need a new water source!

Why does everyone say "must be something in the water" when several women are pg at the same time? I want to ask "Do you not know how this works?" and inform them of sperm counts, days of ovulation, uterine lining thickness, luteal phase, morphology and motility and all of the other lovely things that go into conception. Obviously my water source is devoid of baby making capabilities. I wish that it were that easy. I would drink in that water, bath in it, even wash my clothes in it just to be sure. And then I would bottle it up and send it to all of my fellow infertile friends.

Well, it seems as the baby making water has been extremely fertile lately. Facebook, forums and church are being overrun with pg announcements. I am getting to the point that I want to avoid all of it and just stay at home in my protective bubble. Waterless bubble. With some chocolate, of course!

So if any of you have this "water" please send some my way. I will be outside doing a rain dance just in case the magic water source comes from the sky.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Crazy Infertile Lady

Everyone has either gone to church with or is related to a "crazy lady" that never had kids and instead treats their pets like children. I have always tried to avoid the "crazy lady" stigma, but that may have changed recently.

I have to small Maltese dogs and I am bad about grooming them so they get shaved at least once a year. Last year it was near Christmas time when they were shaved and I felt bad because they were naked and cold. So I bought them sweaters. Matching sweaters. Matching Santa Claus sweaters. With hats. I know! I know! They are just dogs, but they are my "babies". And when we were traveling I was letting them out in a grassy area at a gas station and people were pointing and stopping to tell me just how cute they were. I then lamented to my hubby that I was one of "those" people. Spring came and the sweaters were put away and I was normal again.

Until now. I took my 6 year old niece to the park and she insisted upon taking her 2 Baby Alive baby dolls with her and their double stroller. When I dropped her off at home she told me to take them home with me. Never giving it a second thought I went through a drive-thru on my way home. And the lady at the window told me that my "kids" were cute. To my horror I turned around and realized that sitting in my backseat, strapped into their stroller, were my niece's babies. I just smiled, paid for my food and drove straight home.

I doubt that she thought I was a crazy infertile woman, but I sure felt like it!!!! If I start talking to myself please commit me! :-)

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Sunday. The Lord's day. Church. All reasons to rejoice. Yet Sunday is by far the most difficult day of the week for me as it is for many infertile couples. I love my church and church family and enjoy being with them, but it is while with them that I cannot ignore my empty arms. It begins from the moment I pull into a parking space and the van next to me has a car seat or two in it. Then as I walk into church I pass a mom holding a toddler's hand then a father dropping a baby off in the nursery. During church it is the prayer request for the pregnant mom or the announcement that so and so had her baby. After church it is the mom gathering her chickies together while I grab my Bible and purse and walk out alone. These differences are more obvious when my husband is out of town and I attend alone.

I try to remain focused on Him on Sundays but I will admit that this is not always easy. I try so hard not to let infertility overshadow what should be a joyous day, but infertility is an ugly monster that follows me wherever I go, pointing out my inadequacies at every opportunity. Infertility never takes a vacation. It is always there. Have you ever seen the Weight Watchers commercial with the little orange guy name Hunger? Well, I have one of those but it is green like envy and prickly, nothing fluffy and friendly about it. No matter how fast I run or how much I try to hide, infertility finds me. He pokes and prods me when a pregnant woman walks by and tells me that I will never feel a baby's kick. He whispers in my ear when I hear a baby's cry and tells me that I will never hear that sound in my home. He forces my eyes to gravitate to families and my heart to ache for what I do not have.

I often cry out to Him asking that this desire for a family be removed or that this
infertility be "cured". Yet I hear no answer. No yes. No no. Not even wait. Just silence. One day I pray that I will be able to look back and see the path that He has led me down and know the reason for infertility, but right now I have no answers, only questions. Why me? Why this long? Will it ever end? And if it does end and we have children I know that infertility will never go away. It has left an indelible mark on my soul. A baby would bring me comfort and joy, but the sorrow over the lost years will remain until eternity. It is just the way it is. Nothing ever cures the pain that we have gone through. A baby will just make it worth it all.

So for all of you hurting on this Lord's day, my thoughts and prayers are with you. For those that are surrounding my your children, say a prayer for those of us with empty arms. A smile and a kind word helps as well.

Friday, August 7, 2009

You might be infertile if.....

*you know what BBT means.

*you hold your legs up after sex.

*you know man's average sperm count.

*you can pronounce weird words like "oligoasthenoteratozoospermia".

*have boxes of injectable hormones in your fridge instead of condiments.

*pregnant women or those with babies always seem to find you and get in your way in the grocery store, sit in front of you in church, etc.

*know the term morphology and what it means.

*have purchased more than 25 pg tests in the same year.

*when you see the initials AI for American Idol but automatically assume that it means artificial insemination.

*you speak "code": RE, BD, POAS, PCOS, etc.

*set your alarm to give yourself a shot in the butt at exactly 2:34am, and feel wonderful afterward.

*you know exactly what cycle day you are on.

*the following makes perfect sense:
No AF, took HPT, got BFN, finally called RE, scheduled me a HSG and DH a SA, and was told to start BBT'ing (again) and using OPK's.

*you are wearing long sleeve shirts to cover the bruising from having blood work done so many times.

*when you call your ob to ask that your records be sent to your RE they ask "ALL of them?? *sigh* Okay".

*you know which ovary is making the most eggs.

*you see someone carrying a brown paper bag and your first assumption is that they are taking a semen sample to the lab.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not much to tell

The good news is that everything looks great! The polyp was benign and no other abnormalities. The bad news is that I have to go back in 5 weeks and then we will discuss the time line for the transfer then. Another wait!!!! I did learn that the the earliest that we could proceed is November. I need to complete 3 cycles before we do anything.

There is a possible issue that could interfere with everything, a cervical cyst. Without getting into too much grotesque detail I have episodes of excessive discharge for no apparent reason. A cervical cyst is very rare but with my luck I will have one. The next time it happens I have to call him immediately and go in to see him. If I have one it could cause a bad infection. Hopefully it is nothing and we can proceed without further delay. Though the way things have gone so far I will most likely have one. I know that you are all jealous! Here you just have a period every month and I get all of the fun stuff. Don't hate me cause I am dysfunctional!! ;)

So again............we wait.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pot-Op appt. tomorrow

So tomorrow I go in for my post-op appointment. I am both nervous and excited. I know that things went well so I am not worried about all of that, but tomorrow he will tell me when I will be ready to have the transfer. He said before I needed to wait 2 months but he wouldn't know for sure until after the surgery. Once we know the time frame then we can start moving forward on the list for waiting embies.

I am excited to move forward yet terrified at the same time. This infertility journey has been riddled with disappointments and I am not ready for another one. I am trying to remain positive in all of this, but after 11 years it is easier said than done. I am trying to put my trust in Him. He has opened some amazing doors in this most recent endeavor and I want to believe that it will end in 2 pink lines. My biggest concern right now is paying for it all. It seems like the harder we try to save the more we have to spend. I hope to get a breakdown of costs tomorrow so I know exactly what we are facing. Then to decide which kidney to sell.......hubby's or mine. ;)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pretend Mommy

As a child I loved to play "house". I would be the "mommy" and my dolls my "babies". I could do this for hours. It never crossed my mind that pretending may be all that I ever get to do. This past week I was able to play "mommy" again, this time with real child. And I loved it. We went out of town to visit friends and we took my 6 year old niece with us. I am used to having her stay overnight a few nights, but this is the first time I had her for a complete week. It was tiring. It was frustrating at times. It was annoying. It was a dream come true.

When strangers mistakenly assumed she was my daughter I did not correct the assumption. It was nice to feel "normal". She slept with us and her foot was always in my back. She talks in her sleep and woke me often. Her endless "But why, Jessie?" questions about drove me batty! She argued about brushing her teeth, taking a shower, wearing shoes, cleaning her messes and eating her veggies. It was great! She also held my hand as we slept. And called out for me to hold her when a nightmare scared her. She asked me to check that she rinsed all of the shampoo out of her. She wanted me to carry her when she was too tired to walk from the car at night. It is those moments that I miss the most now that she has gone home. I got into the shower this morning and saw her kid size bar of soap (compliments of the Quality Inn) sitting next to my large bar of soap and a wave of loneliness hit me. I am not really a mom....it was all make believe.

Monday, August 3, 2009

baby steps.....

My mission in life for the past 8 years has been to avoid babies and pg women at all costs. I would love to be one of those women that embraces her lot in life and doesn't let it affect her, but I am not. Avoidance and denial are the name of my game. Recently it seems as though God has had different plans. He has taken me out of my comfort zone (kicking and screaming) and "encouraging" me to face my demons.

About 7 months ago my younger sister announced that she was expecting. This was unexpected and not necessarily good news at the time. She has since come to accept and even anticipate the arrival of the baby, but I am not there yet. This announcement knocked my world off its axis. I had never anticipated that my sister would have a baby ever, especially not before me. There was no way that I could avoid or deny the existence of this coming attraction. I have had to grin and bear the shopping for baby clothes, ultrasound pics, and growing belly. I not only had to attend a baby shower, but I had to host it. And with the upcoming arrival of baby Bella I am now faced with the probability of being in the delivery room. I have about 6 weeks left to prepare myself for this and I am in no way ready. I am sure that I will be strong during the delivery, but alone in my car afterwards my heart will surely be ripped to shreds.

The past few months has been a time of self discovery and I am sad to say that I have not liked all of the things that I have learned. I began to see a Christian counselor at first in hopes of her commiserating with me. Now it is to help me grow. And grow I have. There have been growing pains along the way, but they have been worth it! I have now held 2 different babies, one just last night. I did not spontaneously combust nor did I turn into a pillar of salt. It wasn't easy but it felt nice to hold a baby again. I survived the baby shower and I even bought a baby gift. I have asked a total stranger when she is due and also commented on another's newborn babe.

This may all sound so trivial to most, but these are baby steps for me. I am in no way "over" my infertility, but I am better equipped to deal with it. Each day is a time to grow and learn and ofttimes I am not happy about doing so. But I am happier with the results of these growth spurts. I am hoping to one day be able to say that I am thankful for this opportunity to experience infertility, but I am not holding my breath! ;)