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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Common misconceptions about EA

Today Maddie and I were outside when our neighbor came out and started talking to us. She has only seen Maddie about 2-3 times and she commented on how much she looked like me. I forgot that she did not know how Maddie came to be and I mentioned how ironic that it is considering she is not genetically related to me. She had a funny look on her face so I explained that she was from a donor embryo. Her face lit up and said "Oh! A Snowflake baby!!!". Imagine my surprise that she knew all about EA. There is actually a couple at her church that did EA through the NEDC a few months ago. This began a conversation about EA. She had a really good grasp on the concept (she is in her 50's and never struggles with IF so this was a bit unusual) but there were a few things that she had the wrong idea about.

Misconception #1:
There are hundreds of thousands of embryos available.

While there are over 400,000 embryos currently in storage, there is only a small about available for adoption. My neighbor mentioned that a few other couples wanted to do EA to save these little embryos. While I applaud their willingness to help rescue them and give them a chance at life, in reality it would take opportunities from families that had no other options. Many of the frozen embryos are awaiting their parents to thaw them and give them a chance, while some are sitting there until their parents decide what to do with them. Sadly, many of them will end up discarded or used for research. With more education about donation options maybe that number will change one day, but until then there is not an abundance of embryos available for adoption.

Misconception #2:
Embryo adoption is the same thing as embryo donation.

Yes. And no. Technically they are very different. However, the term is used interchangeably. While we did embryo donation I still feel like we adopted Maddie as an embryo. The real difference between the two is the process. With EA you must have a home study and is treated as an adoption. This route gives you the option of an open adoption. ED on the other hand is done more like donor egg or donor sperm cycles and is almost always anonymous.

Misconception #3:
EA is expensive.

This is another yes and no answer. Fertility treatments are not cheap no matter what. But in the grand scheme of things EA can be less expensive then IVF. ED even less. I know of someone that spent less than $3000 for everything with ED and someone that spent over $16,000 for EA. It all depends on whether you want a more traditional adoption or go through a clinic and do ED.

Misconception #4:

With ED you don't get a medical history.

Yet another yes and no answer. Clinics really vary on this one. My clinic gave us a comprehensive medical history on the donor parents, their parents, grandparents and siblings as well as any children they may have. Some clinics give nothing more than hair color or eye color. I am a firm believer in getting as much of a health history as possible and wish that all clinics did so.

Misconception #5:
Babies born through EA are not really "yours".

This one is a big, fat false!! Regardless of how a child came to be a part of your family (donor eggs/sperm, adoption, EA/ED, etc) they are most definitely yours. As for feeling "different" about a child not genetically related to you I can assure you that is not so. At least not for me. Maddie is "mine" and I could not love her more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Maddie's birthday party!

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

a year ago today.....

A year ago today my precious little Maddie graced us with her presence. A year ago today the 12 years of infertility finally made sense. The pain didn't end, but it lessened. The moment I heard her cry the years of anger and bitterness fell away, my grieving was over. A year ago today my life completely changed. It no longer revolved around "what ifs" and countless doctor's appointments and unsuccessful fertility treatments. It now revolved around a tiny little princess. She is the culmination of years of praying, thousands of tears, and many years of waiting.

Life as a mother is still a bit foreign to me. There are times I look at this little person and wonder how she got here. I still cannot believe that we have her. Now she is leaving her baby days behind (sniff sniff) and moving too quickly into toddlerhood. She has her own personality. She is such a delight!! She has a wonderful disposition and each day brings laughter to our home. She is trying to talk and cracks us up with her attempt at words. She loves her Kee Kee (kitty) and often gives him kisses. Winston is not happy about this new development and boxes her with his paws (don't worry, he's de-clawed!). She calls for her cousin Lella (Bella) and is quick to say Thank You though I am not really sure how to translate that here! It is gibberish sounding but she repeats me when I say it every time so I am counting it! I love to watch her grow and learn!

There are still tears. But now they are not because my arms are empty but because my heart is full.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Surgery it is, then

Last Wednesday Maddie was diagnosed with her 10th ear infection (her 3rd since getting tubes, the first that we took her back to the ENT for). The ENT suctioned her ears out (horrible experience for both of us!) and sent the fluid to be cultured, hoping to find a specific bacteria to treat. Then on Friday she had a fever of 101.8 and had had diarrhea for 3 days so I took her to her pediatrician. While there the doctor checked her ears and they both looked great. I continued her ear drops until Monday night and then today she had her follow up at the ENT. I mentioned that on Friday her ears looked great and he was glad to hear it. He then asked how she was acting/feeling. I told him great but last night she was restless and then woke up at 2 am and stayed up until almost 6 am. We are all exhausted!!! I jokingly said "I hope it wasn't because her ears hurt." Ha Ha Ha. Wouldn't you know it, one ear had fluid again!!! We were both shocked!! The ENT admitted to being perplexed but her infections since there is no obvious cause. I really appreciated his honesty.

We discussed our options and he is fairly certain that the actual tubes are harboring bacteria (which is sadly quite common) and once replaced it should reduce, if not eliminate, her ear infections drastically. Also, he will remove her adenoids. There is no guarantee that this will work but we feel it is the best option at this time. I have spoken to other moms that have dealt with similar issues with their little ones and most of them had great success with removing the adenoids. We are praying that this is the answer for her chronic infections. I am not sure of the date for her surgery yet but once I do I will post it. Prayers are appreciated!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who are theses people?

Right now I think that I would have to answer YES!!! You know, I read these mommy blogs where these women are SAHM with 6 kids, clip coupons, keep their house spotless, sew their children clothing, decorate like out of a magazine, host parties, and cook gourmet meals. Who are theses people???? I look around my house that looks like a tornado just came through it and I envy their organization and character. I have my 1 year old daughter and my 2 year old niece today. They are trashing my house!!! Granted, it started out halfway there, but still. I have dishes in the sink, the carpet needs vacuumed, lunch needs to be made, half of the laundry is folded, Maddie has finally been dresses but now her shirt is stained, and I need to put some make up on. All of this and I am in the middle of making the decorations for Maddie's birthday party on Friday. I still not to shop for that too. And all I want to do is turn on some music, grab a book and soak in the tub. I want to fold my arms, nod my head and viola! The house is clean. I need a maid. And a cook. And maybe a personal shopper.

I want to be the women I read about. I would love perfection. But it ain't gonna happen!! So instead I will enjoy my crazy life, listening to sounds of my daughter's laughter. And assume that those with "perfect lives" must live in Stepford.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Who am I?

For those that are visiting from ICLW let me catch you up to speed and tell you a little about me and my journey.

*Married for 12 years. TTC all of those years.

*What can go wrong will go wrong: I have endo, mild PCOS, blocked tube and a damaged ovary on the "good" side. Hubby has no swimmers at all. Nothing. Nada! A really bad combination for baby making.

*We tried to adopt. Twice. Both epic fails.

*We tried 4 IUIs with donor sperm. Again, everything went wrong. The frozen swimmers did not thaw well and the count was low. I developed a uterine infection. Had to get a new donor. No BFP from any of these attempts.

*At the 11 year ttc mark we embarked on a new leg of our journey: EA. We actually did anonymous embryo donation through a local clinic.

*Our miracle baby is a baby no more. She turns a year old on Thursday.

*We are currently pursuing baby number two. However, our clinic closed and we are starting from scratch.

Well, there you have it. My life in bullet points. Feel free to stick around and follow the continue ttc saga.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I've been thinking about them

This week is Maddie's first birthday. It is hard to believe that an entire year has already passed. This week has been a time of reminiscing about the journey that brought us here. I remember how hopeless our situation was in early 2009. I remember getting the call that we had been matched with embryos. But I am also thinking a lot about "them", the donor couple. The people that gave us the gift of Maddie. I wonder if they wonder about those 6 tiny embryos.

Each night when I kiss Maddie good night I thank God for their selfless gift. Every morning when I see her smile I can't help but feel a connection to these faceless, nameless people that changed our lives forever. I look in Maddie's eyes and try to see her genetic family. While some recipient parents may want to block out that their child is not genetically related I look for the little signs that prove that she is not. Maddie looks and acts so much like us that I tend to forget her heritage. But to forget it is to deny who she is. And it denies that gift that her genetic parents gave us. I am proud of how Maddie came to be. I am humbled by their gift. I can't wait until she is old enough to understand about her beginnings. It is a miracle, plain and simple. And I want her to love this couple as much as I do. She may never get the opportunity to meet them and they may never know about her existence, but I want her to always know about them and how much they loved her to give her this chance at live. And maybe one day God will bring us all together so that I may thank them in person.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Going organic.....can I do it?

Through some of my research about ear infections I have come across articles and people that have encouraged me to consider going organic. Though some readers may think that I am sitting idly by and watching my daughter suffer, I assure you that I am constantly looking for answers. At this point we have tried almost everything and organic is about the only thing left. Seriously, if someone told me to cover her in honey and let her run naked through the street I would try it. I am desperate for answers! But going organic scares me!!1 It is so.....overwhelming! I am not a cook every night and always from scratch kind of person. I like prepackaged sauce mixes. Convenience foods are, well, convenient. Pepsi and Swiss Cake rolls are my friends. Pizza delivered? Awesome!!! Chinese food? Amazing!! And I can't help but wonder, can I give it all up?

The answer is yes. Yes, I can! For my daughter's health I can do anything. But I won't lie to you, I am not happy about it. Thankfully we have a Trad.er Joe's about 20 minutes from us and their prices are fairly reasonable so shopping there won't be too bad. And we have two local grocery stores with a fairly good selection of organic foods. Now I just need to know what to purchase and how to cook it. We typically eat tacos, spaghetti, pork chops, casseroles, and other preservative laden delicacies. Cooking healthy and organic will be very new to me.

I "know" that eating healthier I will feel better as will hubby. I "know" that even if it does not cure Maddie's ear infections it will still be healthier for her. Hubby and I both struggle with weight and I will not allow Maddie to deal with being overweight. after Maddie's birthday next week we will get started. But until then I have a Pepsi calling my name!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I am not a bad mom. I am not a bad mom.

This has been my mantra as of late. I repeat it over and over to remind myself that I am, in fact, a good mother that loves her baby and is doing everything that she can to make it all better. Why do feel like a failure, you ask? Because Maddie has her 10th, yes 10th, ear infection. Her 10th in 8 months, her 3rd since tubes. Yesterday she saw the ENT again and they suctioned her ears out. I cannot tell you how horrible this was!! It took 3 of us to hold her down, myself included. As I am holding her arms down and listening to her cries turn to screams I saw her face. She had this "Make it stop, Mommy" look on her face. She wanted me to fix it and make it all better but here I was, holding her down for them to cause the very thing hurting her. I bawled like a baby the entire time, covering the nurses arms in my tears. When it was finished I grabbed Maddie and help her tight, our tears mingling together.

I can't help but think that if I had nursed her longer we would not be going through this. Or if I cleaned my house better. Or what if I did not have pets? Would that have helped? Should I have taken her to the chiropractor sooner? Cut out dairy months ago? Why can't I make her boo-boo all better?

The truth is that I know in my head that I am doing absolutely everything possible for Maddie, but my heart still hurts. Recently I saw something on television about a woman with Munchausen by Proxy and I honestly could not comprehend how someone could actually make their child ill just for attention. It is obviously a disease as no mother wants to watch their little one suffer. It pains me to watch her burn up with fever and pull and tug at her ears. I dread putting antibiotics into her tiny, little body. I hate holding her down to put ear drops in her ears. I am embarrassed to admit how often she sees a doctor or that she has an ENT, an allergist/pulminologist, and a chiropractor. Yet all of these things are necessary.

As it stands now if she gets one more infection she will have her tubes removed as well as her adenoids. We are at a loss as to what is causing this and hope that we find a solution soon. Prayers are appreciated!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No MRSA!!!

Maddie had her follow up appointment today and the the results of the culture came back fine. No MRSA!!! And her ears look fabulous! Completely clear, no fluid at all. While there we had her see the audiologist for a hearing assessment. Maddie is not much of a "talker". She says dadada but that is about it. She also makes the M sound but not much else. She is a bit behind (not much though) and I wanted to rule out hearing loss. She passed the test with flying colors. The doctor thinks that the previous fluid in her ears would have prohibited her from hearing as well as she could have and slowed her down some. Now that her ears are clear she should start picking up more words and sounds. So all in all a great visit!! Thank you all so much for the prayers!!

And as for me and the mono, I am doing pretty good. I only felt bad the first few days and except for the horrendous sore throat I have felt fine. No fatigue or anything which is why the doctor was fairly certain I did not have mono. I am very thankful that I am not experiencing the fatigue as Maddie is now getting her 1 year molars (oy vay!!) and is not sleeping well at all. Hubby has been traveling so I am not getting much rest at all. If I felt awful right now with this lack of sleep I would lose my mind. Hopefully I don't get any of that extreme tiredness and fatigue either.

Now, I must go to bed! Night all!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mono and MRSA

What a combo, huh?? I have mono and Maddie is being tested for MRSA. Let me back up and start at the beginning...

I posted a week or so ago about my Maddie and I both being sick. I had had a very bad sore throat that I went to the Urgent Care for and was given antibiotics for a sinus infection. I began to feel better a day or so later but then the symptoms returned. I went to the doctor yesterday and they tested me for mono. Imagine my surprise when it came back positive!! I really assumed that is was strep since I never had a fever nor have I been fatigued. Well, at least not more than normal. Considering my daughter is an insomniac I have no idea what "normal" is anymore.

Now onto the MRSA. Maddie has been unable to shake her ear infection despite 2 oral antibiotics and antibiotic drops. We had a follow up with her ENT and he said that there was a lot of fluid in her ears (even with the drainage) and he suctioned it out. He then took a culture to have it tested for MRSA. We get the results tomorrow. He also gave her new ear drops which seemed to have helped so I am hoping that there is not a staph infection. But if there is it will explain why she has had so many issues with her ears.

That about sums up my life right now! Doctors, doctors, doctors!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Send some love

A blogger friend just went through a disrupted adoption. Please take a moment and visit Bethanie and send her some love.

cycle of names

YEars, and years, and years ago, when hubby and I first got engaged (and we were young and naive...aka before infertility), we talked about our future kiddos. You know, the ones you "plan" on having? The ones you will conceive on the first month of trying. Yeah, those. We talked about how many we would have, how many years apart they would be, and what names we liked. I always liked less popular names but nothing made up or with wonky spelling. I never wanted to be trendy and have my child have the same name as 4 other kids in her class. But I also didn't want people to have to ask how to pronounce their names either. So we chose a few: Abigail Renee, Madison Grace and Braedon Taylor being amongst our favorites. When we chose these names we had never met another Madison or Braedon so that was great. Fast forward a bagillion years and now these two are on the top 10 list of names as is Abigail. Well, crap!!! We loved our names!! We had dropped Abigail after our little one that we tried to adopt was names Abigail Renee, but we still loved Braedon and Madison. But now they were trendy. Then I decided, who cares?!?! I chose them first and I loved them. So what if they will be one of many, they are still awesome names. And as the rate we are going the name Braedon may be out of date before we ever get to use it!!

Because of the possibility of twin with an FET we always try to have 2 boy names and 2 girl names chosen. And since we hope to try again soon we began talking names again. Choosing names gives us hope. Hope that we will one day have children to use those names. Maybe not 4 more children, but one or two would be amazing!! So here are our other names. I think that they are pretty awesome even if trendy.

Braedon Taylor
Liam Reed
(Bryce Desmond is in the running too, but we are leaning towards Liam)

Olivia (not sure of the middle name. I kinda like Reese though)
Elaina (again, no middle name yet)
We would call them Livvie and Lainey. Cute, huh??

If we have boy/girl twins it will be Braedon and Olivia. Now if we could only have some babies to go with these names!!! If not, I better start getting some puppies to name! Cause I am gonna use them!

Have you chosen names? Does it give you hope? Or just make it harder for you? Have your choices changed over the years of waiting?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

FInding an ED program is harder than I thought!

So I began calling clinics today. The one near me does not have an ED program. Actually, no one the entire state claims to have one. Most of the clinics listed on the embryoadoption.org site does not include an ED program on their websites. I could call them (and I will) but it would be much easier if they listed it on their site. I have contacted 2 clinics and am waiting for further information. It looks like we will have to travel for baby #2. It would have been easier to stay close to home, but that is okay. During this bit of research I am quite surprised at how much the costs of the FET varies. So far the range is $1500-$9800. This is for clinic programs, not EA with home studies.

For those of you that did ED (anonymous donation at a clinic) where did you go? What was your wait time? How much was the FET and other related costs (not including meds)? If you do not want to post it publicly please feel free to email me at agreateryesblog@gmail.com. Or if you have a few extra embryos sleeping in your freezer I will be more than happy to give them a home. ;-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tentatively taking that first step!

Well, it is official. We are actively looking for embryos again!! We won't really be ready until Spring of 2012 (unless the money lands in our lap....will provide my address if anyone has a few extra bucks laying around) but we are looking into clinic programs starting this week. I am excited to be taking this first step. I want to jump ahead and plan out every last detail but when I do that my hopes are dashed when everything doesn't work out the way I planned. So we will take it one step at a time and allow God to direct us. We are open to finding embryos on our own and using a local clinic (there are 2 available if we go this route) or we will find a clinic with a program already in place. There is a local clinic that may be an answer to that prayer and I will call them tomorrow to find out for certain. If not we may be traveling to CA or FL.

This makes me nervous! And excited!! And a bunch of different emotions. I do like to at least be "doing" something even if it is just researching options. And praying for His direction and leading to the embryos He has for us.