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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Help bring this little boy home!

Take a moment to read this story about Porter. His family is trying to bring him home and are trying to raise the rest of the money that they need. Porter has special needs and needs to come home as soon as possible. Your donation enters you into a giveaway and it ends tonight. If you can help, please do!

Raising money for treatments

I know that for the majority of us paying for IUIs, IVF and even EA is a challenge. Most of us do not have thousands and thousands laying around. Some take out loans, borrow from family, have a yard sale, sell a kidney, etc. If you adopt traditionally you may find that family and friends are quick to do fundraisers, but with medical treatments many are reluctant to help. And most of us reluctant to ask. It is almost taboo. It leaves most of it on our shoulders and can be quite discouraging.

We are currently getting ready for our FET and while we have the money in savings we are hoping not to have to dip into it for all of it. We still have $2500 owed to the clinic for the actual FET, $265 for the u/s to check my lining, at least $250 for my airline ticket, and then the hotel and the rental car. We just paid $525 for the MET and we were able to come up with $400 of that by selling an item and an unexpected refund check. For the lining check and the airline ticket we are trying to raise that as well without using our savings. So we are having a yard sale. I don't have a whole, whole lot to sell, but we hope to raise at least $100 this way. After that I am not really sure what we will do. We only have 3-4 weeks to raise it so it may not happen.

So what are some ways that you have raised the money? What tips do you have to help others? Please share your ideas and I will later post all of the compiled suggestions.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Why don't more clinics educate patients?

I was reading a post today about EB on a mommy forum. They were discussing a news article or something and as I read the responses I was shocked at how many people, even those with stored embryos, have no idea about ED/A. One claimed that she would never donate her embryos because you don't get to choose the embryos and what if they were not great parents. Having not done IVF this is not something that I am familiar with. I know that clinics will give you paperwork and such and also have you decide what happens to the embryos in the case of death or divorce, but do they educate you on your options for donation? Do they tell you that there are several ways in which to do this? Or do they encourage only donating to their clinic if they have a program?

It saddens me to think that there may be many, many embryos that could be donated to waiting couples but people are just not aware of their options. Did your clinic educate you on your options? Is there any literature available to clinics to pass onto couples to help them decide? If not, then maybe this is something that we, the ED/A community could work on.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Meds are on their way!

I received a call from the pharmacy today to give me the total for my meds. I knew that insurance was going to cover it and that I could get a 3 month supply at a bit of a reduced rate, but we all know things happen or information is incorrect. So I was hoping for good news but prepared for the worst. I got the call today that insurance approved it for the 3 month supply and that my copays are really good. I am getting Vivelle and Crinone (which is like $260 a box and I need 2....maybe 4....a month) and the total for 3 months is $200. Amazing!!!!!!!!!!! I am so thankful that it is covered!! They will be delivered tomorrow and I will be ready to go once I start my next cycle. About 2 weeks to go before CD1. WOOT!

Questions? Just ask!

I know that many people are curious about embryos adoption and have questions so here is your chance. Ask away! If I don't have the answer I know that there are others that will. Or if you have a question for me personally ask that too. Not sure if I will answer but I might. I am not exactly shy. ;) But if you ask about my weight I will lie. Just like I do on my driver's license. I still says that I am 150. Lies! All lies!!! But a girl can dream, can't she?

So what do you wanna know?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Are you? Will you? Have you?

My blog is about infertility in general, parenting a child after infertility almost completely sucked the life out of me, about me, and a lot about my biggest passion: Embryo Donation/Adoption. So I wanna know: Are you in the process of ED/A? Are you considering it? Have you even thought about it? Is it the path that you have already chosen and walked and are now on the other side? I am just curious as to how many ED/A hopefuls, mommas, mommas-to-be, and even papas we have out there. If you have a blog too post a link here if you want me to add you to my blog list (its over on the right...see it?) I get emails on a regular basis from people saying that they are so excited to read a blog about ED/A and that they feel so alone in this. It surprises me as I know so many that have done it or are in the process. I want to make these blogs available for those interested in reading about it. And if you don't want to link your blog to me (you should though....I am awesome) that is okay. I just wanna know who all is out there!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mock transfer went great!

I had my MET today and everything went very well. I must say that I was nervous as I have never had an u/s or test that did not show cysts, polyps, or fibroids. Or a combination of the three. I am so used to it that I was prepared for it today. But nope! Nothing! My uterus was beautiful! All ready for a baby. So now I wait 3 weeks for my next cycle to start and then I start my meds and schedule the transfer date. Not much longer now!!!

Welcome ICLW peeps!

It has been a few months since I participated in ICLW and it is nice to be back. For those visiting today, thank you for stopping by. A little about me and this blog:

My name is Jess and hubby and I have been married for 14 years. It took us 11 years to finally have a child through the miracle of embryo donation. And we are now working on baby number two....and maybe three. I am about 5 weeks from my transfer date. This blog will chronicle that journey as well as be about me and my life as an infertile and as a mother after infertility. Feel free to stick around. I think it is a pretty interesting place, but I don't sleep and am a bit delusional so what do I know? :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

5 weeks to go

It just hit me last night that we are really doing this. How did this happen?!?! I feel like I have been planning and preparing for this but forgot that it would actually happen. It is all becoming so real. When we drove home from the hospital with Maddie I couldn't wait to have another baby. I want her to have a sibling. But there has been a part of me that was afraid that we would never get a second chance and yet, here we are. It is REAL.

I started antibiotics yesterday for my MET, which is tomorrow.

My prescriptions have been faxed to Freedom Pharmacy and I will call them today to get those ordered. Thankfully my insurance is paying for all of it. How awesome is that?!?! For 3 months of Crinone it will be less than $140 and for 3 months of Vivelle it will $65. This is amazing and we are truly thankful.

I should start my next cycle in 3 weeks and at that time I will begin the meds. And get the FET date and book my flight. If you add that all up it is just 5 weeks away. Just five! Holy cow!

Monday, September 17, 2012

can fear and faith coexist?

Things are really beginning to move forward with for our upcoming cycle. The problem that I face is fear. God brought us to this clinic. He provided the embryos. We even have the finances. Yet I fear. Where is my faith? Why am I struggling with fear this time? Then I realized that faith cannot exist without fear. If we had nothing to fear we would not need to place our faith in God, so the two must both be present. You can have fear alone, but not faith alone. This helped me to put it into perspective and to rest in Him and trust that our needs will be provided.

I have two main fears: that it will not work and that we will not have the money, the money being the biggest fear right now. I said that we have the finances and thankfully we do have enough money in savings. The problem is that we need about $800-1000 of work done on our roof, a wall torn out and replaced in our kitchen, and the flooring replaced. The more we use for EA the less we have for those things. And those repairs must be done. If the FET costs rise too high we will be unable to proceed. This is what scares me!!! But God has already provided for the next step. I have my mock transfer on Friday. When it was just the SHG we had hoped that it could be billed to insurance as it is a diagnostic procedure for uterine abnormalities as well as for infertility. My insurance paid for my last one so we were hopeful. But this clinic does some fancy digital 3D thing and it cannot be billed as it is only for infertility. And it is $525, more than the SHG would have been. I started to get a bit panicky about it but hubby assured me that it was okay, we will be fine. Then I remembered a check that we had received from our insurance company that I had yet to cash. It was reimbursement for an out of network test hubby had had done. The check was for $300! So we are cashing that and using it for the MET. And there is a pair of shoes I bought (I have plantar fasciatis and need ugly, old lady shoes) but I really hate them and am returning them. There were....gulp....$150 and we will use that towards it as well. (for that kind of money I want to love the shoes...these just make me cry they are so ugly). So that is $450 for the MET this Friday! See? God is providing!!

Our next big obstacle is the travel costs, mainly the flight. Hubby cannot travel that far yet with his lymphodema so my grandmother was going to go. But the tickets are running close to $400 right now and we can't afford for both of us to go. Driving is just too far and still $500 in gas plus an additional 2 days of travel. This may mean that I am going alone which is fine, but not my first choice. I hate that I don't have an actual date yet and have to wait until my next period to know that. I like to plan!! You would think that 14 years of infertility I would have learned that "planning" is totally useless!!

Our last obstacle is the meds. I am only going to be on 2: Vivelle and progsterone suppositories. Last time I used Prometrium and they were $25 with my insurance which was awesome! But this RE does not like them as they are not technically suppositories so he is sending me an RX for 2 different ones to choose from. If insurance does not cover them we may be in trouble as I have heard they could run around $600. Gulp! I already know that my insurance does not cover the PIO so that is out. Thankfully I have been gifted 2+ boxes of Vivelle so that is not a concern at all. And insurance pays for those (high co-pay though) if I need more.

While I am sure that I will fight my fear until this is over, I am trying to have faith. I know that God will provide, I just do not know how. And like I said, I like to have a  plan. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Countdown begins

So much is happening so quickly! We officially chose our embryos today. We are the proud parents to 2 blasts and 6 day three embryos. It ended up being an easy decision as the other one that we were interested in had already been spoken for. That was exactly what we had prayed for and we are at peace that we have the embryos that were meant for us to use.

Today I also had my initial blood work done (infectious disease, thyroid, blood type). The nurse is mailing out my RX's and instructions. The first signs of AF are here so I will be calling my local clinic tomorrow to schedule my SHG. Once that is completed (and all goes well I pray) we wait for my next cycle to start and away we go! Yes, that is right, my next cycle. In October!!! I am a bit nervous as this time I will use just Vivelle patches and progesterone. Last time I used both of those plus bcp's, lupron, Estrace, and Heparin. There will be no suppression this time, just following my natural cycle. But I will leave it in the doctor's and God's hands.

So in 6-7 weeks I should be boarding a plane to meet my embies. I could be pregnant by Halloween!!! How crazy is that?!?!?!

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to choose embryos

On Saturday we received a packet of embryo profiles. There were about 15 or so in there and it was exciting to open the envelope knowing that our potential future baby could be listed inside those pages. Then the actual process began and I can honestly say it is not as easy as I thought that it would be. Last time we were not given options. Last time we were next on the list and they called with a set of embryos that were available and we could pass or accept. Not THAT was easy!

So now we have to choose which profile to accept. It started out easy enough. We eliminated any that were mixed race or and any that were not caucasian as that was important to us. Next to go were the ones where the mother was 40+ years old. We were down to about 7-8 now. Next we removed the ones with only one embryos. Then it was those that did not have a live birth. This one made me sad though, to know that these couples went through so much and did not get their take home baby. But it scared me to think that it may have been from issues with the embryos themselves. One of these profiles included a genetic mother that was age 21. It was a top pick for awhile, but the risk was too high for me.

So now were were down to about 6 profiles. One had a history of chlamydia and I am not familiar with this STD and was not sure if there was any risk involved with it. Combined with this was another family history of cancer so we eliminated this one as well. Two profiles had a stamp on them that said "advise recipients of potential risk" and that the donors had not been tested for something (not sure of the abbreviations). I did not care for that so those went as well.

We have whittled it down to two profiles. Both mothers are about the same age, mid thirties. Both have similar characteristics. The biggest differences are the number and age of the embryos and the number of live births.

Profile one: Singleton from the fresh cycle, spontaneous pg so not other cycles done. There are 2 blasts and 6 day 3 embryos.

Profile two: Singleton from fresh cycle, twins from frozen. Available are 13 day 3 embryos. (I am not sure if day 3's were used for the twin cycle or if they had blasts)

So, do we choose the one with more "success"? Or the one with blasts? Are blasts better than day 3 embryos? I thought that they were, but I never really had to look into it. My previous clinic only used blasts. I am uncertain as to why this one has both. Maybe someone could enlighten me.

I have to call tomorrow to choose our embryos. Profile one was the one that the coordinator mentioned to me during our phone conversation. They only want out of state recipients and that is the only reason the clinic still has them available or they would have been snatched up already. The packet also stated that there were other families reviewing the profiles and some may be spoken for by the time I call, so profile two may not even be available anymore. That would be nice so that we would not have to even make a choice. But if we do, what should I ask? How would you choose?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Known vs Anonymous

One of the the most important decisions you will face in EA is whether to go with a known or anonymous donation.  Both have positives and negatives and often we find ourselves leaning one direction only to go the opposite. Today I would like to take a moment to discuss the two and why we chose the path we did.

In the beginning of all of this we were certain that we would go with a known donation. We believe that open adoption is the best so why should embryo adoption be any different, right? Well, EA is a different ball game and sometime you have to change the rules. Even though we are going the anonymous route for a second time I do believe that known is still the route I prefer, but not always possible.

There are pros and cons of both. For known you will get a complete health history, access to changes in health situations, and the ability for all genetic children to know each other. The cons are that you will be linked with this family forever and if there is ever a disagreement it could become awkward. I am not saying that this will happen, but it can. Also, some donors have specific requests for donor couples and you will need to comply.

For anonymous the pros are that you never have to deal with anyone else. Once you sign the papers you are finished.  This is usually (though not always) a less expensive option. The cons are that you have no access to the donor family at all. Ever. Some clinics will contact them in the event of a life threatening illness, but not all will. Also, children will not have the option to meet their genetic family.

In 2009 we posted an ad on Miracles Waiting hoping to find a match. During this time we began searching for an RE to use locally once we found our embryos. During one of the consults we were presented with the option to use embryos they had available, but it would be anonymous. We struggled with this decision. What if our child wanted to meet their family one day? What if she needed bone marrow? What if, what if, what if?? Then two things were said to me that changed everything:

*Just because the embryos were donated anonymously do they not deserve the chance at life? And if so, why not you? Why not me? Someone will use them, why not you?

*If someone abandoned a baby at a hospital and there was no information on that child, would you adopt him? Or walk away because you will not have a complete health history? Or say no because he cannot meet his genetic family one day?

After this I knew that this was the path that God had chosen for us. And looking at my daughter I am so very thankful we went the route we did. For our second attempt we tried a known donation again but after 2 failed attempts and the frustration of no communication we felt like anonymous was our path again. And God is working it out perfectly!

The choice to go known or anonymous is a personal one and each family needs to do what is best for them. But neither option is less than the other. Both are amazing! But for those starting down this path I urge you to open your heart and mind to other possibilities. Do not get so stuck on one idea that you miss the opportunity that God may have for you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Embie profiles are on their way!

I finally spoke to the donor embryo coordinator at the clinic today and we discussed the next steps. We need to choose our embryos next!! WOO HOO!!! She is sending me the profiles but is highlighting one that may be right for us. There are 2 blasts and 3 or 4 three day embryos (can't remember) and they are good quality. They have had them available for awhile but the donor family wants only out of state recipients and they have not had many of those. The donor mother was 35 when they were created (not as young as I would prefer, but still okay) and they had a singleton after transferring two of them. The donor couple matches us in height. The donor father has my hair color and eye color, the mother is blond hair and blue eyes which is not us at all, but honestly, we don't care. I told her to reserve them for us but we will make a final decision once we review them profiles.

She is also sending me the order for blood work and the SHG (mock transfer). I should start AF here in about a week and at that time I will call my local RE to schedule that. If that goes well we order meds and schedule my travel dates. Now it is getting real! And exciting!

This past week we upgraded Maddie to a twin bed. I moved all of the baby furniture into the spare room. It looks so....out of place there. I pray that we get to fill it again. It scares me that we may end up having to sell it instead. But we will take it one day at a time and pray, pray, pray!

I am starting an EA website...need input

I started on my embryo adoption journey back in 2008. I had heard of this as an option a few year prior but never really though much about it until years later. At that time I started perusing websites, forums and blogs trying to find answers. I was fortunate enough to have a situation at a local clinic fall into our laps and we had to look no further. Fast forward to late 2011 when we started the journey for baby number two. My previous clinic had closed so we were back at square one. Even with my previous successful EA baby and with my connections in the blogoshere and forums I still felt like i was floundering. I knew that there were many options but which one was right for us? And which clinic should we use? I had to start calling any and every clinic on the SART website that listed that they did FETs with donated embryos. I used EA sites as resources but quickly found that they were poorly kept up or biased to their particular program. It was frustrating to say the least. I hated it! I even put it on hold twice because I couldn't take it anymore.

So now I am ready to help find a solution to this problem! I am going to start a website with any and every resource I can find for both embryo adoption and embryo donation. I want to include blogs, forums, clinics, matching agencies, lawyers, etc. Everything!!!! All in one place. So when someone is ready to start researching EA they don't have to go through what many of us have had to go through. I have tried to do some of this with my blog but my blog is personal and while I will still share myself with the website I would prefer to keep the two separate.

So here is where I need your help! I need a name. I have a blog dedicated to just EA (though I rarely update it) and I named it Dreaming of Conceiving. I can keep that one or I can go a different route. I would love something pertaining to snowflakes but have to be careful as there is already and agency that uses that name. So submit your suggestions please!

I would also like to know what it should include. What would have been helpful to you? I will also need one or two others to help me moderate it and update it as well as research clinics that have EA programs. If you are interested please email me at agreateryesblog@gmail.com.

Here is what I plan to include (so far):

*List of clinics with programs along with pertinent information (wait times, prices if disclosed, availability, etc)

*List of EA/D blogs

*Differences between EA and ED

*List of lawyers that deal with EA

*Forums that are for EA/D or that have a place on their forum for EA/D

*Feature different couples that have done EA

*Statistics and news stories pertaining to EA/D

*Support for donors (would love to find a donor to help with this one!!)

So help a girl out! Let me know what you think? Speak up! Now is your chance!!