Monday, December 30, 2013

Graduation day!

I graduated from my RE today. Dang. Did I just say that? Unreal. The RE has been such an intertwined part of my life for over two years. Now (dare I say it) I'm just a regular ol' pregnant lady! I couldn't be happier to be just a regular ol' pregnant anybody!

Our final RE appointment went great. Baby looks perfect and had a strong heartbeat of 183bpm. He/she still looks like a blob with a yolk sac, but the nurse did point out the little leg nubs this time. So adorable! I can't wait to squeeze those chunky baby thighs someday. Ah, I melt just thinking about it! I really can't wait until this baby starts taking the shape of a baby. Maybe he/she will at our first appointment with the OB next Thursday, which will put me at 10w1d.


I've found myself going to my ultrasounds with only a slight feeling of anxiety. I'm trying to put blinders on when it comes to Dr Google, or even knowing what to expect at these appointments. I'm just going with what the doctor tells me and it's keeping my anxiety to a minimum, which has been great. With pregnancy/miscarriage #1, I lived on Dr Google. I spent so much time learning anything and everything there was about betas, blighted ovums, miscarriages, ectopics, etc. It was a desperate attempt to feel like I had some control, when obviously I did not. And in the end, it just made me so full of fear and anxiety. I couldn't shut it off. I've learned that while information can be power, too much information can be detrimental to mental health. There's a fine balance.

I'm so glad this is still going well, and I still can't believe I am at this point. We are overjoyed.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Words beyond the grave

I was born in August. I was also my mom's firstborn. In fact, her due date was August 3rd, only three days from my due date of August 6th. I've found myself thinking about that quite a bit lately. Was my little heartbeat the sound that brought her to tears back in 1981? These thoughts give me a connection to her as I experience milestones, symptoms, etc. My mom never dealt with infertility, but I know that her calling to be a mother was one of the most important things in her life and she loved her children more than life itself. I feel an extra special connection with her now that I am pregnant and as I anxiously wait to meet our special little baby next Summer.

Last night I got home from work and I was surprised to find a box from my cousin (who has no idea I'm pregnant) waiting for me. I opened it, and couldn't believe what was inside.

My mom's journal.


I flipped it open. I realized she was writing to her future children. Me.

"I love you already and I haven't even met you and I know my life will be more complete as I meet you."

She was speaking to me beyond the grave.

I can't believe this treasure is now in my possession. I can't wait to read through it and feel like she's here with me again, only in a new light.

Thank you, mom. There's never been a doubt you're near, but moments like these definitely remind me you're watching from the other side.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The day after Christmas

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas! We sure did. On Christmas Eve, we drove to see a big light display in a neighboring town. It was beautiful! I kept thinking how fun it will be to bring our future child(ren) there someday. I find myself thinking this about all kinds of different activities lately, and it's blissful. And when I do, it hits me that it is likely that our first born child is inside of me right now. It's still such an incredible concept. We are so in love with this baby and we can't wait to experience the world with him/her in it.

On Christmas day, Kevin helped make the elaborate dinner which was a huge help because I wasn't feeling so great physically. The symptoms are hitting me full force now, no doubt about it. That's okay though, because I wouldn't change it for the world. One of Kevin's gifts to me was a beautiful snowflake pendant with a blue diamond in the center. Isn't it beautiful?


As far as pregnancy symptoms go, I have been experiencing a lot more nausea. It started Sunday after we went to brunch and hasn't really let up. I have nausea if I don't eat, and sometimes nausea after I eat. Nothing has brought me to throw up yet, but I've definitely been to the point of gagging. I have mostly food aversions, and no cravings to speak of, because very little sounds good to me. Well, the things that do sound good to me contain gluten which I can't eat lol! I'm forcing myself to eat cottage cheese and rice crackers, and a green smoothie when I first get up to kick start my day and it helps me a lot. I just look at it as fueling my body. I am very fatigued and go to bed early any opportunity I can find. I'll still get occasional sharp cramps here and there as I assume the uterus stretches. But no bleeding, which is great. I am thrilled to be experiencing any part of a healthy pregnancy I can get - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I'm incredibly grateful and none of this is complaining, just documenting what is going on with me!

I'll leave you with a picture of our dog, Oscar, enjoying his new bone that Santa Paws brought him for Christmas. Someday Santa CLAUS will be visiting our home and spoiling our two legged loved ones. :) Someday soon!



Monday, December 23, 2013

The cuteness overflows

We had our second ultrasound appointment with the RE this morning at 7w5d. Not only was snowflake baby's heartbeat going strong at 159bpm, we were able to get a recording of it inside of stuffed animals! Whenever the lamb or elephant is squeezed, we can replay the beautiful heartbeat sound. Can you believe how adorable this idea is? Amazing keepsakes!


And here's the incredible sound of the little lamb playing baby's heartbeat!


Here is an ultrasound picture from today. Hi, baby!


And as if this day wasn't special enough,  I was so touched to find this delivered on my porch this morning as a gift from my friend Jess! Crazy cute!


We have our third and final appointment with the RE on Monday, and then I graduate to the OB. My first OB appointment will be on January 9th.

I still can't believe this is really happening!

BEST CHRISTMAS SEASON EVER.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Two years ago

Thank you SO much for all of the kind words and congratulatory messages for our successful ultrasound on Monday. We are on top of the world! I've been feeling increasingly symptomatic, but I think that's a really good thing. The late afternoons and evenings are the hardest physically, but I wouldn't change it for the world! I'm seven weeks today. Such a miracle to type those words!

Today is a really important day and I want to talk about someone who is very special to me. Two years ago today, heaven gained one of it's most cherished angels when my mom passed away from colon cancer. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday, and others it feels like decades ago.

What would my mom think about the events that unfolded in the years after her passing? The painful path of our infertility would have crushed her. She knew how badly I wished to be a mother. Our losses, our failures - she would have been devastated right there next to us. But today, I know for certain that she'd be elated we are finally expecting our baby! She wanted only good things and happiness for her family. She wanted us to know the joys of parenthood. A couple weeks before she passed, I had barely been diagnosed with DOR and we had touched on the concept of embryo adoption. We had just learned of it ourselves. She was incredibly supportive of the idea. She loved all of her grandchildren even if she hadn't met them yet.

After her funeral, I sorted through her jewelry box to take anything sentimental home with me. I was surprised to find a beautiful snowflake pendant. To most people, it probably wouldn't have meant much to them. But to me, it felt as though it was my mom offering a smile and a nod to us for the incredible path of embryo adoption that we had only just discovered. I almost felt like she knew of the greater plan in store and was just showing us a glimmer.

I wore it so often that unfortunately one of the tips broke off!
In the months leading up to her death in 2011, "Without you" by David Guetta ft Usher would regularly be played the radio. I deemed this to be her song. The lyrics cut right into my soul. How in the world would I go on without her? She was my best friend.

I can't win, I can't reign.
I will never win this game without you, without you.
I am lost, I am vain. I will never be the same without you, without you.
I won't run, I won't fly. I will never make it by without you, without you.
I can't rest, I can't fight . All I need is you, & I without you, without you.

Coincidentally, I learned my dad had also deemed this to be her song. This was especially strange because my dad mainly listens to classical and choir music!

My mom was a beloved high school teacher in her local town. After her passing, the school started a scholarship in her memory and hosted a faculty talent show to raise money for it. While the entire talent show was amazing, one particular performance by the art teachers moved me to tears.


It appeared that my dad and I weren't the only ones who knew this was her song. Everyone else knew it too.

As months went by, her song played less frequently on the radio until hardly ever at all. But after a while, her song seemed to only play at pivotal moments in my life. I remember a monitoring ultrasound for our IVF cycle in 2012 where the RE told me that my ovaries were not responding whatsoever. I was devastated. I got into the car and started to cry. I turned on the car to make my drive into work, when all of the sudden her song began to play on the radio. It was as though she was trying to comfort me by telling me she was near.

About a year after her death, my dad moved from Utah to Texas. Buying his home just 15 houses up the street from us was such a special day. I remember how excited we were meeting the realtor and being handed the keys to his new house. I hopped back in the car with the keys in hand, turned on the radio and there was her song! I felt like she was pleased my dad would be looked after. She was definitely near.

Unfortunately, I haven't heard this song played on the radio for many, many months.

However on Monday, after our amazing ultrasound, I was stunned, in awe, and basking in the joy of hearing our baby's heartbeat for the very first time. On the drive home, I turned on the radio and guess what song was just starting to play? Her song! No doubt she was with us for such a joyous occasion. She wanted us to know she was near.

I love her and miss her so much, but I'm comforted knowing she is watching from the other side. I think she knows the bigger picture and is smiling as she watches it unfold.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The ultrasound

Meet our precious snowflake baby. Baby looks great and has a strong heartbeat of 134 bpm!


The nerves leading up to the ultrasound were unreal. I have never been so scared in my life. But with this amazing news I am so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that I am in tears. Thank you so much for your prayers.

We will be going back on Monday morning for another ultrasound - not because the RE is worried at all about this baby. But because the RE is ultra cautious that a second baby isn't growing somewhere it shouldn't be. My RE encourages single embryo transfers. So in cases where they transfer more than one, they always like to be extra careful. I'm not worried about that at all, and it's another amazing opportunity to see this beautiful baby growing in there! Can't wait until Monday!

Worst night of sleep ever

I barely slept last night. I tossed and turned pretty much the whole night. I couldn't shut my brain off. I kept thinking about today's ultrasound and was subconsciously playing through all the potential scenarios I could think of - both good and bad. I kept thinking about the first ultrasound during my first pregnancy where I was told I had an ectopic and my world came crashing down around me. I'm so full of anxiety it's crazy. I was optimistic for the majority of the wait for the ultrasound. But over the past day, my mental state took a negative turn. This crazy post-miscarriage brain of mine clearly has a hard time with this sort of thing.

We head to the clinic for the ultrasound at 1pm CST. I really wish it was earlier *sigh*. If we get good news, we will be stopping by Kevin's mom's house on the way home to tell her the news and show her the ultrasound picture. If we get bad news, I imagine we will come home and cry/sleep. Either way, when I get home I will update you all. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I've never prayed so hard in my life!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Are you in there?

As I wait for my ultrasound, I'm constantly wondering what is going on in there. I'm 6w1d today. Baby snowflake should be the size of a sweet pea. Is there a little heart beating yet? Are there two hearts? Hmmm, I really think there's just one. Well, I hope and pray there is at LEAST one, let's put it that way.

Are you in there, tiny little baby heart?

Monday seems so far away!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The elevator speech

Kevin and I went out to dinner on Sunday night. As expected, the server started by asking us what we wanted to drink. Kevin selected a beer from the restaurants extensive list of on-tap beers. And of course, I asked for water with lemon. I told our server I had a gluten intolerance and asked a few questions about the menu. The server returned with our drinks and then said to me "Did you order water only because you can't drink beer due to the gluten in it? Because we have gluten free beer if you'd like that." And my response was "Actually, I'm pregnant."

Whoa. Did those words actually come out of my mouth? It felt really foreign (yet oh-so-good) to say! The server's face lit up with a smile and she beamed "Congratulations!"

She began asking questions like "When are you due?" I answered "August."

She asked "Are you scared?" and of course my first reaction was "Yup, I'm terrified."

Then it dawned on me that she was likely asking if I'm scared to be a mother - NOT if I'm scared if this baby will actually die before being born as my first two had. Cue the reality of infertile brain.

After the brief conversation, Kevin and I reflected about what a surreal moment we just had with this stranger. I really am pregnant. And to this server, I was probably just a regular ol' pregnant woman who has a baby growing inside of her because of a roll in the hay with her husband. Does it matter to me if she knows the miraculous additional details of how this pregnancy came to be or not? Not really. But it did get me thinking about it since I imagine I'll be having similar conversations with others as my pregnancy (God-willingly) progresses.

I always told myself that I would be an advocate for embryo adoption. It is an incredible but widely unknown path that I wish was more known and accepted in our society. I always strive to live by the motto of "Be the change you wish to be in this world." So with that being said, I need to make sure I'm not afraid to talk about it or share. This is one of the reasons I blog. It's one of the reasons I started our EA/ED Facebook group. But it's a whole new territory broaching this topic with strangers as we discuss my seemingly "ordinary" pregnancy. Who exactly should I share our story with? With servers at restaurants? When exactly is appropriate? I feel I need to be delicate so that I don't over-share, BUT I feel called to share. Because if the story of our experience with embryo adoption ultimately gets back to a suffering infertile couple who then begins to research it and they ultimately find success with it themselves, it will all be worth it to me. I would also love for couples with leftover remaining embryos to know an amazing option exists for them as well.

There's a concept used in the business world called an 'elevator speech.' An elevator speech is when someone explains an idea in a quick yet powerful 30-60 second speech as they might stand next to a stranger in an elevator. It's the chance to make a strong first impression on any particular topic. I feel like I need to come up with my 'elevator speech' for our story of embryo adoption. I need to condense it into a nutshell, ensure I share only the right amount of details, and have it ready if the right moment presents itself. I know I wont use this speech with everyone I meet, but if I feel the moment is right, I want to be ready.

For those of you who have been through embryo adoption, do you have your 'elevator speech' prepared? What do you say? What questions prompt you to bring up your experience with embryo adoption? Who do you find yourself sharing your story with and why?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Iced in!

Like much of the rest of the country, Austin is experiencing extremely cold temperatures and ice. But unlike much of the rest of the US, Austin isn't used to cold weather and ice! So in our case, much of the city comes to a standstill. This means we avoid the roads, light a fire, find a fluffy blanket and stay cozy. I grew up in Utah and sometimes miss the cold temperatures so I'm weird and am liking it.

I've been in good spirits with the news of my doubling beta. I've had regular cramping, sore breasts, food aversions, heartburn etc. Even though the physical symptoms are uncomfortable, it brings me much comfort every time a symptom rears it's head.

I can't express to you how much I want to see the flicker of a tiny heartbeat on the 16th since we never got to see it in our first pregnancy/miscarriage. Week after week we'd go to the OB and some progress would be made, but no heartbeat. We'd tell ourselves "Maybe next week" but it never happened. And at 9w1d it was over. I'm trying to make myself believe that this time will be different and we may actually get to experience that beautiful heartbeat this time. I still can't help but be scared as the memories of my first pregnancy come rushing back.

In the meantime, I'm trying to keep myself occupied while cooped up at home.

I decided to conquer a pinterest craft and made myself this DIY sharpie mug.


And I also made two pounds of sugar coated pecans this morning. They are so good and will be a hit at the Christmas party we are hosting on Saturday!


I hope everyone is cozy at home in this cold weather. Brr!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Beta #2 results

Beta #2 came in at 1373 which puts the doubling time of 51.6 hours! Betas start to slow down to 72-96 hours anyway as they get past 1200 so I'm happy with the results!

And the other good news is that my RE doesn't want anymore betas like I first thought. Hallelujah! She thinks two is enough. My ultrasound is scheduled for December 16 at 1pm CST. It's going to be another long wait but the prize at the end of this wait should be unimaginable. God willing, we will get to see the flicker of a tiny heartbeat.

I just want to see that little flicker that day. I have never wanted something so badly in my entire life. Please God, PLEASE let us see that tiny heartbeat.

And we wait once again

My blood is drawn and I anxiously wait for the phone call to let me know the results of beta #2. I'm not as nervous about this one for some reason. Although the crazy damaged brain in me thinks that by me NOT worrying somehow I'm jinxing it so the results will be bad. How bizarre is that? The irrational and superstitious places my wacky brain goes while I'm waiting are ridiculous.

As the mark of an infertility veteran, I've officially blown the vein in my right arm. I've had multiple lab people tell me that vein was on it's last leg and today it was official. It's no good anymore. I guess I have something in common with hardcore IV drug users. Just crazy! I hope it comes back to life at some point and is usable again! Good thing I have plenty more that are juicy and good to go!

Okay I'm off to work. I really hope it's a good result because I can't handle a meltdown while I'm there. Thanks for your prayers! I'll post once I get the number.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Another milestone: 5w0d

I'm 5w0d today!

I'm staying hopeful that my beta will look great tomorrow, but I have a feeling I'll still be a nervous wreck until I get the call. My clinic not only made me wait until 13dp6dt for my first beta, they make me wait three days in between repeat betas, and I have to get three betas total before moving onto scheduling an ultrasound. Holy moly it feels so dragged out. This means my third and final beta will be Monday, and hopefully my ultrasound will be later next week or early the week after. I hope my betas are rock star great, and I can continue to feel happy about all of this!

Physically, I'm feeling pretty good most of the day. But other than extreme hunger (which lasts all day and night) most of my symptoms mainly come out in the evenings. My breasts are the most tender in the evenings, I'm the most tired and nauseated, and most of my cramping happens between 5pm until I go to bed. In the mornings and afternoons I find myself wondering if I'm still pregnant because my symptoms are so mild or gone altogether. But when I get home from work, I definitely remember because my symptoms are all back. I guess this baby is a night owl. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I'm finding myself thinking a lot about our donors. My heart is bursting with gratitude to both of them for these extraordinary gifts they have given us. Both Vicky and Libby have been angels to us. At the same time, my heart is incredibly heavy and sad as I think of Libby and the suffering she and her family continues to endure with her daughter's brain tumor. I think of her constantly.

I will never understand God's reasoning for why this happened to her, especially for the timing of it. Her daughter's diagnosis gives her survival approximately nine months. And as we all know, nine months is also the length of time it takes me to have a baby. I find myself realizing that in nine months, Kevin and I could be experiencing the most incredible joy we will ever know as we bring our first child into this world. Yet at the same time, Libby and her family could be experiencing the most intense pain they will ever know as their precious baby leaves this world. I really don't understand and it seems so incredibly unfair. It's beyond my comprehension. I would trade all of this if I knew it would fix her little girl. I wish we could both have our babies here with us forever and have our "happily ever afters." I ask that you all will continue to pray for Libby's family.

Monday, December 2, 2013

My beta results are in

Never have I cried and laughed so hard in my whole life. All at exactly the same time.

I'm 13dp6dt and my beta came back at 522.

I am overjoyed. Actually, overjoyed doesn't even come close to describing how I feel. I am SO GRATEFUL. OH my gosh am I grateful!

Please continue to stick, little one(s)! Your mommy and daddy love you so much!

Next beta is Thursday!

And now we wait

The deed is done.

My blood is drawn, and now we wait. I am crazy, no, I am INSANELY anxious. There is no doubt that my first two miscarriages damaged me emotionally and mentally. I have never had a blissfully happy beta day, and I've had plenty to look back on. I had something like seven beta draws with my first pregnancy and three for my second, so driving to the lab brings up so much anxiety and fear. I felt like I was going to puke. Every time I do that drive, I feel like I'm driving to get an inevitable outcome: low, non-doubling betas.

The thoughts are racing through my mind like crazy. If I'm nervous today, I can only imagine how nervous I will feel Thursday for beta #2! Yes, I have to wait until Thursday, as if waiting 13dp6dt for beta #1 wasn't torture enough.

I appreciate the kind words and reassurance, but unfortunately there's no talking me out of the nauseating anxiety I am dealing with as I wait for the call. In fact, I started talking to a psychologist shortly after losing baby #1 and she said she thinks I suffer from post-traumatic anxiety stemming from my mom's death, severe infertility diagnosis, and subsequent losses. And on days like today, there is no doubt she's probably right! Holy anxiety, batman! I just want that call to come already so I can begin to process - good or bad.

My plan is to try to relax (ha!) by going to go get a pedicure before work and try to focus on everything else except my fears (ha again!) I have a feeling that's going to be a tall order! :) I usually get my results anywhere from 4-6 hours after draw, so stay tuned. I will post once I get them.

I thank you all so much as you pray for my beta results today. Your support means the world to me, my amazing readers!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

These silly sticks

I don't (and shouldn't) put a lot of stock in these stupid sticks, but I had one left from my 3-pack and figured I'd just give it a go this afternoon. It finally says 2-3 weeks instead of 1-2 weeks. What does that mean for my beta? Who knows? But I think it's safe to assume my hcg is rising and since these sticks measure time from conception, my pregnancy is right on track since I'm 4w3d today. And while I know it's silly to care what a silly stick says, it does make me feel a little better to see 2-3 in that window. I'm glad these CBEs are all gone. I only have one FRER left and a handful of wondfos. The allure of POAS is starting to wear off for me anyway, which is a good thing!


Monday's beta seriously can't get here soon enough! If it wasn't for the weekend, it would have been scheduled for today. I never thought I'd want to wish a weekend away! Thanks for all of the comforting words during my serious case of the crazies!

Friday, November 29, 2013

And the fear sets in

I was living blissfully on cloud nine for a few days, but just as I knew it inevitably would, the fear of infertility brain and pregnancy-after-two-losses brain has totally set in. Now I'm finding myself terrified just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wish I could just be blissful again. Just an example of another way that infertility and loss robs us.

As for testing, I have so many home pregnancy tests that I can't help but POAS each morning and I'm getting a mixed bag of results. The FRER isn't show as dramatic of progression morning after morning, but the wondfo got super dark today compared to yesterday. Like WAY dark. Check that puppy out!


I am still showing 1-2 weeks on a CBE digital weeks estimator. I wish it showed 2-3 weeks for extra reassurance, but then again I'm only 4w2d along so it's in line with that. I guess I would just feel better if it did.

Has anyone else used the CBE weeks estimators? I haven't decided if they are helping me, or messing with my head. I've read 1-2 weeks on these means hcg is under 156. On other sites I've read its below 200. But overall, it seems these CBE digital weeks estimators seem to be flukey on the weeks estimation. The more I read about them, it seems that not only is there a wide range of hcg values that will trigger a new category, but in many cases it's completely inaccurate. I've read accounts of women who used them, had their blood drawn that same day, and their actual hcg is completely different from  what the CBE test showed. Still, my crazy IF brain would love for it to say 2-3 weeks!

Overall, I have no tangible reason to think this pregnancy might also not end well. I am just damaged from my past. I wish I could shake it and enjoy myself again. But no matter how much I try, I can't! I hope my beta brings reassuring news on Monday.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We had a nice day, and it was a good distraction from the worry.

Update: I had a hunch that the Wondfo was a little darker than it should be, so I tried one more a few hours later and sure enough it wasn't nearly as dark as the first. It was still just a smidgen darker than yesterday's, but clearly the wondfo in the picture above is a fluke. Must have extra dye or something!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First weekly milestone

Today marks my first weekly milestone. I'm 4w0d pregnant!

A few of you have asked me about symptoms so far so I figured I'd post about that today. I obviously can't be sure what is a pregnancy symptom vs PIO, but here's what's going on with me.

Gum Swelling: This started at about 3dpt. I could start to feel my gums swell around just around one tooth on the bottom left side of my mouth. I thought that was a little unusual and wondered if it might mean I was pregnant. Now I feel swelling above a tooth on the top left so the swelling is isolated and seems to move around my mouth.

Hot flashes: These aren't as intense as they were at 3dpt, but I'll just start sweating from head to toe out of the blue. I will feel like I need to step into a freezer for relief! I'll get mild ones here and there, but the intense ones for me seemed to happen mainly around implantation.

Cramps: I've had all kinds of feelings going on in there that seem to change day by day. Sensations have gone from a feeling of fullness (hard to describe), sharp cramping, dull cramping, twinges, pulling, tickling, stretching, and even a feeling like something was tugging on my bladder! This morning I have a much more dull and constant period-like cramping.

Tender Breasts: I had this symptom really strong from 3dpt to 5dpt and now it's lessened a bit. When I realized it was subsiding, it scared the life out of me, but I understand it's normal for symptoms to come and go. I had tender breasts with my first pregnancy, and somewhat with my second, but neither compared to the intensity I've had on this one.

Nausea: I've had two bouts of nausea over the past few days.

Constipation: This has been extremely prominent! PIO is notorious for causing this on it's own, and I'm on 2mL daily which is twice the amount most people take. Pregnancy can cause this as well, so put the two together and you're where I am at! I'm taking Colace and trying to get as much fiber as I can but I think this one is going to be an uphill battle.

Fatigue: I've found myself falling asleep almost the moment my head hits the pillow at night which is unusual. I end up getting a good night's sleep and end up waking up super early! Even with 8+ hours of sleep, my eyes burn while I'm at work and I feel like I need to close them and doze off. But of course I can't do that.

Heightened sense of smell: This one is borderline. I can't tell if it's in my head or not, but I'm feeling extra sensitive to at least perfumes. I've noticed myself thinking "Whoa, that lady's perfume is strong" on WAY more occasions this week than I usually do, which either means lots of ladies around me are wearing strong perfume lately (unlikely) or I'm noticing it more because my sense of smell is heightened.

Nasal congestion: My nose started being stuffy about 4dpt and hasn't let up. Breathe right strips are my best friend!

Headache: I have a mild, constant headache. I think it may be related to the fact I'm congested and can't use any nasal decongestant sprays. Or maybe it's a headache all on it's own. Who knows? But it's there.

Eye twitching: This is a weird one, but my eye has been twitching a LOT since the day before my BFP! This happened with my first pregnancy. It also started the day before that BFP and lasted until about a week after my D&C. I can't help but assume it's related even though it's bizarre.

By no means is any of this complaining. As I stand back and think about it, I find it fascinating and beautiful that something so tiny can make my body know it's presence. I'll take all of it and then some if it means I get to hold one or both of these babies in my arms someday!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Little Wonders

Yesterday morning, I showered and got ready for work. I hopped in the car and decided I'd turn on my "singable" playlist for the drive in. After all, I was in a singing kind of mood after seeing the beautiful word Yes+ appear on my pregnancy test! 

The 25 minute drive into work consisted of me belting out some Cher, Jason Derulo, and Less Than Jake. But just as I was just pulling up to my office, a song I had totally forgot about came on: Little Wonders by Rob Thomas



I love this song and I can't believe I had forgotten about it. But as it began to play, I found myself vividly remembering the lyrics. And as it played and I sang along in an increasingly wavering voice, I could start to feel happy tears streaming down my face.

let it go,
let it roll right off your shoulder
don’t you know
the hardest part is over
let it in,
let your clarity define you
in the end
we will only just remember how it feels

our lives are made
in these small hours
these little wonders,
these twists and turns of fate
time falls away, 
but these small hours,
these small hours still remain


While I obviously can't be even close to sure that the hardest part is over, I let my guard down for those few moments and allowed myself to believe that it just might. I know one thing for sure. I'll never take a second of any of it for granted.

Have you ever been blindsided by a song during your struggle or after your success that brought you to tears? What song was it?

And last, I'll leave you with this morning's test progression.

I'm blown away by the darkening of my pregnancy tests. I've never seen this kind of noticeable difference day after day in the past. I can't help but be hopeful. I can't help but feel like this time is different.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Yes or No?

Yes is better.


Oh, how I longed to see this beautiful word pop up on this little screen last pregnancy, but it never did. It kept yelling at me morning after morning with the curse word of: No - That was the first sign that my pregnancy was headed downhill. I am so grateful today was an easy YES+.

And for those of you who like to see progression, here's yesterday's compared to today's. The second line started showing after only about a minute.

I'm still cautiously optimistic after enduring two miscarriages. I think I'll be pretty scared until I see a heartbeat, which is further than we've ever been before. Who am I kidding? I'll probably still be terrified after that. But today I am relishing in these early milestones that never occurred this early on in the past. I'm taking each day at a time, and so far each day has brought reassurance, hope, and joy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This crazy lady tests at four days past transfer

Somehow in this wacky brain of mine, I rationalized that yesterday (morning even!) wasn't too early to test (4dp6dt) even though logically I knew it was positively insane and way too early.

So you can imagine my absolute shock when a second line appeared.

Oh. My. Gosh. OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH.

This morning a FRER showed positive within the three minute testing window, which never happened last time.

I'm pregnant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I have no idea if both embryos implanted, or if one (and which one) but I am over the moon. I have renewed hope because of this pregnancy producing such an early positive. Could both twiblings actually be growing in there? Time will tell!

You know what else is crazy? Austin has snow in the forecast tonight which never happens. We get snow once every four years or so in January or February, but it's NEVER ever this early on in the year. I am taking it as a beautiful honor to my beautiful snowflakes!


Beta is scheduled for 12/2/13 which will be 13dp6dt.

Please, OH PLEASE let these babies stick around this time!


Friday, November 22, 2013

What's the deal with these hot flashes?

I'm 3dp6dt and I'm experiencing crazy hot flashes this morning. I feel like I could fry an egg on my forehead and am dripping in sweat! Could this be a good sign? A bad sign? No sign at all? It's playing tricks on me because I think back to last cycle where I had insane hot flashes the day before I learned of my BFP. Could this be my body's way of handling implantation? Or is it a coincidence? This morning I even decided to walk outside in my skimpy nightgown to let the 25mph icy winds blow on me just to find a little relief! Ahh, it felt so nice!

Anyone have hot flash stories that ultimately related to getting good news? No news? Bad news? Give it to me straight!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

A flow chart of our snowflakes' history

Welcome, ICLW! In a  nutshell, I'm 2dp6dt waiting for the results of a very unique transfer! 

To catch you up, we've adopted embryos from two completely different embryo donors, and transferred one of each on November 19th. This means I could potentially be pregnant with twins who aren't related to me or one another, or a singleton who we won't know the genetic background of until birth. Or of course, I may not become pregnant at all or miscarry again which would royally suck but I'm braced for any outcome. My beta is scheduled on December 2nd, but I know I can't hold out that long. So stay tuned because I have a feeling the home testing will start in a few days. To learn more about what brought us to this situation, click on the Our Story tab.

At my transfer on Tuesday, Kevin pointed out that it took the love and actions of nine people over the course of a decade to make this happen. Yes, NINE! And that's not even counting the doctors, embryologists, or other amazing people along the way. I don't think I've ever thoroughly explained how these embryos came to be in great detail so I'll post about that today.

We adopted one batch from Libby and her husband, and they are the genetic parents of their embryo batch. They have four beautiful children, three of whom are 100% genetic siblings to any children we may have resulting from that batch. 

We also adopted a batch from Vicky and her husband. They are not the genetic parents of that batch because they received them anonymously as donor embryos themselves from an unknown couple who used a Romanian egg donor to create them. The original unknown intended parents had two sons who are genetically related to Vicky's batch. They donated the remaining embryos to Vicky and her husband. Vicky and her husband went on to have two sons, one of which resulted from these embryos and is 100% genetically related to any child we have from their batch. We have open relationships with both Vicky and Libby. Genetically related or not, we love both of their families like our own and we couldn't ask for more amazing people in our lives. We are so lucky to know them.

Clearly it's a complicated story. Usually when I explain it to people, I feel compelled to draw a picture to try to help it make sense, but never got around to it. Now that we are facing this type of a unique pregnancy, I finally went ahead and made a chart. 

Here's a quick and dirty version of how these embryos came to us and all of their genetic relationships along the way. It's not your typical situation, so feel free to ask any questions you might have. It's very exciting and unique!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Transfer complete! Meet the twiblings.

I am thrilled to announce that the final embryo from Vicky's batch DID survive thaw and grew perfectly alongside Libby's! And at exactly 8:22:38am CST I met both of them for the very first time as they were transferred to my uterus.

The transfer went perfectly and I'm typing this post with two very special twiblings on board! What is a twibling, you ask? Here's the Webster's definition.

twibling


noun\ˈtwi·bling\
one of two babies who are not genetically related to each other or to the mother they grow inside of

Okay, I totally made that up. But get used to that word, because I'm going to be using that term to refer to these very special snowflakes - hopefully for another nine months (and beyond!)

And with no further ado, I introduce to you our beloved twiblings:

Vicky's is left and Libby's is right. Each came from a different coast of the USA to meet in the middle here in Texas!

I was not feeling very good this morning both emotionally and physically. I think the doxycycline has been making me very nauseated in the mornings and I had a very high level of anxiety not knowing what the results of thaw would be. But the moment the embryologist came in our room and said the words "they both survived thaw and are doing perfect" I felt tears of joy well up in my eyes. I haven't felt this happy in a very long time. What a relief that they both made it! I am excited that this is the way this part of the story is written.

After transfer, the embryologist offered me some souvenirs: the straw Libby's embryo was shipped/stored in, the vial Vicky's was shipped/stored in, and the petri dish where they met and grew together today. How cool are these? I'm so lucky to have such special souvenirs!


Snuggle in, my beloved snowflake twiblings. We would love nothing more than to hold you in our arms in August.

Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tomorrow

Tomorrow could be it for us: It in a bad way or it in a good way. Tomorrow may begin the last chapter of our journey through embryo adoption. Tomorrow could even be the final page. Or wonderfully, it could be the beginning chapter of an incredible new story as we finally embark upon parenthood.

But no matter what happens, some very integral pieces of this story will indeed be written tomorrow. So much depends on the thaw.

To recap the plan, the embryologist plans to start by thawing two embryos: One embryo from Libby’s pair and the final embryo from Vicky’s batch. The survival of both of these embryos would mean we still have a final embryo of Libby’s remaining on ice. It would mean we still have one more chance. I will be overjoyed. I love them all and I don’t want any of them to die. But of course I would also love another chance.

Tomorrow we will know if we still have one more chance.

If both do survive, we will transfer them together - one of Vicky’s and one of Libby’s. This means I could potentially become pregnant with twins who are not genetically related to me or each other. Or I could become pregnant with a singleton baby and we wouldn't know it’s genetic background until birth.

Tomorrow we will know if one of each will be transferred.

We've wondered and worried since March about the embryo from Vicky’s batch surviving thaw.  The embryologist wasn't optimistic due to the way it was thawed and refrozen using slow freeze. If Vicky’s final embryo dies tomorrow, I will grieve the mere fact it’s gone. This is the last remaining snowflake of its kind. There will never be more. Ever.

Tomorrow we will know if Vicky's snowflakes are gone forever.

If Vicky’s embryo dies, we will transfer both of Libby’s final remaining embryos. I will be beyond anxious about the results of this transfer not only because I want to hold these babies in my arms, but also because I will have none remaining on ice. Everything and I mean everything will come down to this final transfer. If it doesn't work I will never have another chance to feel baby kicks, to know a life is growing inside of me. If it doesn't work, I will not only grieve the loss of Libby’s precious snowflakes, but also that I will never know what it’s like to be pregnant to term.

Or in a real terrible turn of events, they all might not survive thaw. There may be none to transfer. I will feel blindsided. This is unlikely, but possible. So the final page to this chapter could even be written tomorrow.

We will finally know how this part of the story will be written tomorrow.

I will arrive at the clinic at 7:30am for an 8am CST transfer.

I am eager, hopeful, and scared for what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

2013 hanging on the tree

Every year since Kevin and I have been married, we've made a point to get a special ornament to put on our miniature "keepsake tree" in our family room. Each ornament on this special little tree represents something important that happened to us that particular year. At first, I jokingly said it should be a PIO syringe. Ha! But yesterday, I found two beautiful ornaments at Hobby Lobby that seemed very fitting for 2013.
The snowflake-strand ornament on the left represents the three frozen embryo transfers. And the ornament on the right is an angel inside of a snowflake globe which represents our beloved snowflake babies who were born straight to heaven.

I'll leave you with a Christmas serenade from our dog, Oscar.


Yeah, I know. I'm laying the Christmas stuff on thick right now. We are enjoying ourselves, so why not? :) If nothing else, it's keeping me distracted.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Our Friday night consisted of...

Last night we finished the Christmas tree! We're enjoying it while we can...which is hopefully all season long and our season isn't shortened by devastating news. Merry Christmas! Even if it's not even Thanksgiving yet. :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

The roller coaster ride

With each passing day, the more I realize what intense roller coaster emotions I am experiencing. It's like the tallest, most spirally roller coaster ride you could imagine.



Much of the time my emotions are even keeled and I think I can be prepared for any outcome. But then out of the blue I'll start to feel real and intense grief about this transfer not working and the idea of being abruptly thrust off of the path of embryo adoption. I'll try to talk some sense into myself, finally get it together and go on with my day. Then maybe a few hours later I'll fall into blissfully daydreaming about this transfer actually producing a real-live baby (or two!) I'll dream about receiving good news (for once) on beta day, even making it all the way to the ultrasound where we identify a heartbeat. I'll dream about Kevin squeezing my hand with tears in both of our eyes as we realize we've made it further than ever before. I'll even go as far as to dream about what it would be like to learn we were having twins! Then like a cruel rubber band, I get snapped right back into the grief and I tell myself that these events happen to other people, but not us.

It's driving me certifiably insane.

I can confidently say that approaching such intense crossroads is not for the faint of heart. And I can feel these bipolar-ish swings getting more and more intense each day that grows closer to transfer and beta day. I really wish I could fast forward and see the outcome of all of this. I wish someone could hand me a sealed envelope that contains the future and I could quietly go into my bedroom with a box of kleenex, tear it open, and process the results. I know that the exponentially heightened emotions for this transfer are because of how much is at stake.

I'm also thinking a lot about all of the things that are planned post beta day as life inevitably moves on. I am thinking about how blissful future events (especially Holiday events) will feel if it works, and how awful and empty they will feel if it doesn't.

One event that comes to mind is the annual Holiday party Kevin and I throw every December at our home. I was hesitant to plan it this year seeing how it would be December 14th, which is barely beyond beta day. Being realistic, the party could possibly land right in the middle of a miscarriage. How in the world could I host a Holiday party if things go badly? But if one thing the past three years has taught me, it is that I can be strong, even when I think I don't have it in me to be strong. And even amidst our grief and sadness, we can choose to have moments where we set it all aside to live life again.

I think back to 2011. The very morning of that year's Holiday party, my mom was admitted to the hospital. During that stay, doctors prepared our family for the end. They assured us she had only about a week left to live because the cancer had caused her liver to shut down and was sending toxic fluid throughout her bloodstream. I immediately booked a flight to Utah for the following Friday to say my final goodbyes. The news was absolutely crushing. Yet somehow I still went on with the Holiday party that night. I really didn't think I could do it, but it was too late to cancel on everyone.

But what shocked me is that I had a lot of fun.

I find myself drawing strength from that day when I believe I can't make it through an event where I'm supposed to be happy. That night I chose to have fun, and fun is what I had. We are entitled to a night where we can forget our problems, our losses, and grief, and feel like everything is okay. And this year, I want to laugh, dance, and listen to Christmas music with my friends and coworkers no matter what. I did it once, and I know I can do it again.

I just hope I don't have to pretend. I hope I can enjoy the party sipping on non-alcoholic cider and hot chocolate because I'm six weeks pregnant with my beloved snowflakes.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Deck the halls

I know...I know....It's not even Thanksgiving yet.

But Kevin and I decided to get out the Christmas tree and decor last night. Don't judge. :)

In years past, we've taken it out no earlier than Thanksgiving day. But this year, Kevin said on multiple occasions how much he wanted to get it out even earlier. I was hesitant because it's waaaaaay early. But I finally gave in when he pointed out that we could at least enjoy it a few weeks early just in case we bad news about our cycle in December. He had a good point. I remember how his birthday went this year after the miscarriage news and it was just awful. So what do we have to lose by having it out a couple weeks early? If the cycle is success we get an extended season in this house. We aren't decorating the outside yet so no one else has to know but us.....and well, you guys. :)

So we got out the egg nog, turned on the Christmas music, and dragged the tree down. We put it together, hung wreaths, and decorated the fireplace. We aren't quite done yet, but it was fun getting it started. I'm going to enjoy this as long as I can. I never know when those sad days are going to hit me, but luckily last night was a happy one.

The explosion of Christmas stuff as it all was laid out

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Our miniature keepsake tree is decorated!



Friday, November 8, 2013

Why?

Why do I want to just cry today? Hormones?  I feel like a whole bunch of stuff is hitting me all of the sudden. It's getting real. Really real.

This could very well be my last shot at becoming pregnant. Like ever. In my life, ever. I may never know what it's like to hear the heartbeat of the tiny life growing inside of me. I may never get to feel little baby kicks. I may never get to wake Kevin up in the middle of the night to tell him "I think it's time."

This could be my last chance.

I'm thinking about what lies ahead with traditional adoption. How can we come up with 30k? What if we get scammed? What potential heartbreak lies ahead on this path? What if we never get picked? What if we do only to have the birth mother decide to parent after all?

I'm seeing birth announcements now for babies conceived after Maggie was. I should have Maggie in my arms, but I don't.

I should be nearing the end of my first trimester with our second pregnancy.

I miss my mom. I'm starting to forget her voice. It's scaring me to realize that.

Why in the world is Libby forced to endure the current circumstance with her beautiful daughter?

I'm trying not to cry myself into a mess as I write this on my phone from my work parking lot. I don't want to ruin another day for myself over nothing. I'm having one of those days that I'm sure many of you who have been through infertility and loss can relate to.

I hope I can get it together here soon and have a happy weekend.

Thanks for letting me get this out.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Green light!

I had my final lining check today and....

We are officially a GREEN LIGHT for the November 19th transfer!

My lining is at 8.8mm and perfect triple stripe. Yay! My RE said the words "beautiful" and "perfect" at least ten times over the course of the ultrasound. Ya gotta love that!

While in the waiting room before my appointment, I was surprised when my embryologist came out to chat with me and to tell me again that my snowflakes were there safe and sound. I got goose bumps knowing they were actually just feet away in the lab! While chatting, I learned that they are gearing up for their very first round of transfers next week now that they have opened their new location in Austin. And while I won't be their first embryo transfer, I will be their very first frozen embryo transfer at the new location. Pretty exciting!

Even though everything was perfect with the ultrasound, I'll admit that I went into it expecting bad news. I didn't want to feel that way, but for some reason I just did. As you may have noticed, I've found myself incredibly guarded about this cycle and I'm sure it's my heart's way of trying to protect itself. However, after the good news from the appointment I felt my heart swell with the foreign emotions of joy and excitement for the first time in a very long time! Within a few minutes of basking in the hope that this cycle just might actually result in parenthood, I felt an intense sense of fear overwhelm me for daring to feel hopeful again. I felt like it was unsafe to feel this way. I tried hard to shake that notion, but it stuck around for a bit and tainted my blissful moment. Then afterwards, I found myself fascinated at the polar opposite emotions that unfolded so quickly. It's clear that the events of the past few years have damaged me. I hate it. Ugh.

I am working hard to try to change that as much as I possibly can. When I got my BFP from FET #2, Libby gave me some great advice about hanging onto hope that I keep telling myself over and over. She helped remind me that it's okay to be scared. But guarding myself from joyfulness and hope won't completely avoid the heartache that may or may not come in the future. Failure and loss will hurt really bad whether or not I had hope leading up to it or not. Therefore why allow myself to be robbed of joyful moments as they come along? I should enjoy these moments every chance I get! I'm trying to do that with all my heart, but it's definitely something that comes much harder for me than it used to.

I'm hope I can squash that fear and keep the negativity monster at bay and relish in the good news as long as I can! Thanks for the prayers and encouragement. You've helped me immensely.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Welcome to Austin!

Out of the blue yesterday, my embryologist emailed me to tell me that she had transported our snowflakes from San Antonio to Austin and they were tucked in all safe and sound. We are excited to be doing our transfer in Austin instead of San Antonio this time because our RE opened up a brand new location here last month. This means that we won't have to make the long trek to San Antonio on transfer day!

I had no idea they were even moving them this early, but I'm happy to know they made it! Kevin was just asking me on Saturday how they planned to get them from San Antonio to Austin. I told him that they will be driving them, simple as that. He was a little concerned about our snowflakes getting in a car accident. But I reminded him that two of these embryos flew all the way from the west coast and one from the east coast, and had to be transported on the ground in a FedEx truck. So a little 1.5 hour drive would be small potatoes comparatively. But still, a snowflake dad worries! I'm honestly glad I had no idea yesterday would be the day they moved so I didn't have to worry as it was happening, but I'm also glad that my embryologist let me know they made it. I love knowing they are in the same city as me! Is that weird!? Welcome to Austin, little guys! It's a great city and you're going to love it here.



On Sunday, Kevin and I went to get breakfast at a mom-and-pop diner. They always serve their coffee in an assortment of random mugs that they've collected over the years. Check out the mug they served Kevin's coffee in! I hope it's a sign of good luck.

November 19th is just two weeks from today, friends!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Where do I go from here?

Both Kevin and I are constantly thinking of Libby's daughter and her family. I have just wracked my brain trying to think of other ways to help. I know I can't fix anything - but man, oh man...I wish I could! Thank you, my wonderful blog readers, for showing her family support through your prayers, comments, and donations.

I had an idea hit me while thinking about ways to help. I decided to reach out to my wonderful cousin who is currently reigning as her state's Miss _______ ( but I won't name which state.) In September, she competed in the Miss America pageant. Yup, the actual Miss America pageant! I told my cousin about Libby's daughter and she wanted to help. So she will be sending me a little something to give to her courtesy of a real beauty pageant queen! I hope it makes her daughter's day a little brighter to get something from a special person who is thinking about her!

I'm not sure where to go from here. My cycle and problems just feel so insignificant. But it does move forward. But please know that just because I continue blogging about my life events and my cycle issues doesn't mean for one second that I've forgotten about Libby and her current situation. They are in our hearts for the long haul. It just seems weird to talk about anything else because my issues seem so small and unimportant. But I will continue to blog. It does help me and I know it's helped others too.

So I guess onto my cycle news, I have my final lining check on Wednesday. I have no idea what to expect since FET #1 I had no issues and FET#2 I did. But the attitude I have for this cycle is - just go with the flow, Liz. I'm really not stressed about it. I realize what is meant to be, will be. I trust in God and have faith He will show us the road to our babies someway, somehow.

But that being said, every once and a while it will hit me as to what is at stake here.

It could actually work, which would mean:
  • I could end up with twins who aren't related to me or each other. Or a singleton pregnancy in which I don't know my baby's genetic background until birth PLUS have a snowflake left...
or
  • I could end up with twins or a singleton from Libby's batch with no snowflakes left.

Of course in either of these scenarios I'd be pregnant so I would be thrilled and it would be incredible.

Or on the flip side, it might not work at all or end in another miscarriage which could mean I could have either one snowflake left, or no snowflakes left at all. And no baby to show for it. We'd move onto traditional adoption. Adoption is promising, but brings a whole new set of stresses and fears. I'm scared. I'm not going to deny that.

So many variables with huge implications here. I have no idea what the future holds. I'll know part of the story on transfer day, but only time will tell how the rest turns out.

And if I might say one more thing about Libby...I am in awe of Libby and her gigantic heart. Can you believe that she actually texted me this morning to tell me she's thinking of me and the snowflakes?! There just are no words for how incredible she is. 

Long before facing infertility, I used to hear stories about IVF and third party reproduction and think it was really amazing science. And I still do. But I am realizing after adopting these snowflakes and having made these connections with these incredible women, that while science does play a part, to me this is mostly about an incredible human connection and massive amounts of love. I have nothing but love for both of our donors and embryo adoption is one of the most overwhelmingly incredible experiences I have ever had in my life.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Please help

If you're not caught up on my recent posts, our beloved embryo donor, Libby, tragically learned earlier this week that her six year old daughter has a terminal brain tumor (DIPG.) Before becoming a mommy through domestic infant adoption and IVF, Libby and her husband fought a long and hard battle through infertility and multiple losses. Now she and her husband are coping with the most devastating news any parent could receive.

She and her husband are incredibly special us. If you've been following my story, you'll know that earlier this year, she and her husband gave us the most precious gift anyone could give- the chance at parenthood through their four frozen embryos. I am heartbroken knowing that such special people are living every parent's worst nightmare. No one deserves to deal with such a thing. No child should have their life painfully cut short.

In addition to praying for Libby's family, I am asking for your help in a new way. I have learned that Libby's support network set up a Paypal account to accept donations as their daughter receives medical care.
Libby's family has a very tough road ahead. That road consists of the emotional and physical pain for her daughter and entire family, but it also consists the logistics involved in treating a six year old's brain cancer. It means travelling daily to and from the children's hospital for radiation treatments. This means time will be spent at the hospital instead of cooking meals. Restaurants cost extra money, and her daughter has special dietary restrictions because she also has Celiac disease. It will require lots of gas. I could go on and on, but as you can imagine, the expenses will be great.

Libby has set up a Caring Bridge page for her daughter, but for privacy reasons I have chosen not to share the link to it on my blog. When Libby and I first started our relationship, she agreed I could post about her on my blog but only use first names. Posting her Caring Bridge site link would compromise that request. But I'm pleased I am able to share a way for you all to help through this email address!

If you email me at wishingonasnowflake@gmail.com I will give you the PayPal address set up for her family's donations.

Please consider donating. No amount is too small. Every little bit will help and go directly to her family.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Everything else is insignificant

Today is the day my baby Maggie was due. I've dreaded this day for many months. I knew my heart would be heavy and that today would be a very hard day. But yesterday, everything was put into perspective and my mind is completely and utterly preoccupied with someone else.

Libby.

I learned late yesterday morning that Libby's six year old daughter's brain tumor is inoperable and incurable. And it is incredibly aggressive. As soon as I learned of the type of tumor (DIPG) I spent much of the day researching it. I found myself instantly in tears as I realized what this meant for Libby and her beautiful family. After work, Kevin came home and cried too. It's surreal thinking about the hell that they are going through with a diagnosis as devastating as this one.

I have no idea why such awful things happen to such good people. 

Libby and her husband are some of the most wonderful people I know. How can we feel so incredibly connected to people whom we've never met in real life and are thousands of miles away?  It must be because they've given us a very special piece of themselves through their embryos. A piece of both of them will forever be a piece of us. We have a love for them that I can't explain, and our hearts hurt so much for them at this excruciating time. I would give my ability to become a mother if it meant that their daughter would receive a miracle. But unfortunately I don't think God lets us barter like that. We don't get to be in charge. But if He hears me, I'm offering, Lord!!!

I feel called to help somehow but I am at a loss as to how or even if I can help this situation. I am so far away. I know they need their privacy. I am just praying. I pray every single second I can. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and prayed. I prayed as I first woke up. 

I beg of you to pray too. Please pray. Please.

The one thing I can do that does comes to mind is that I can try to bring awareness to this awful disease. This disease could affect any child in any of our lives.

In all of my research on DIPG yesterday, I was saddened by the lack of funding, awareness, and research that goes into finding a cure for childhood brain cancers. As if cancer isn't horrific enough on it's own, these pediatric cancers take our tiniest and most innocent victims. It's just not fair.

I ask of you, my amazing blog readers, to educate yourself on this disease. Please, do this for me. Doctors and researchers don't know why DIPG occurs, but most importantly, there is no cure. And even if you don't have a child or know a child, a cure to this type of cancer is incredibly important to all of us for many reasons:
  • Research to find new treatments for childhood brain tumors represents one of our greatest opportunities to advance cancer research in general. – The Cure Starts Now Medical Advisors
  • Many experts believe that the information we gain from a cure to pediatric brain cancer may provide us critical advances in other forms of cancer, both adult and pediatric. – The Cure Starts Now Medical Advisors
  • More than 359,000 people in the U.S. were living with a diagnosis of a primary brain and central nervous system tumor in the year 2000. – Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • In the year 2000 more than 26,000 children in the U.S. were living with the diagnosis of a primary central nervous system tumor. Each year 3,400 new cases are diagnosed. - Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) report, Primary Brain Tumors in the United States, 2004-2005.
  • Every day nine children in the U.S. are diagnosed with a brain tumor. – Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer death from childhood cancer, accounting for 24 percent of cancer-related deaths in 1997 among persons up to 19. - Report of the Brain Tumor Progress Review Group; published in 2000 by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Neurological Diseases and Stroke.
  • There are more than 120 different types of brain tumors, making effective treatment very complicated. – Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • Pediatric brain tumors are different from those in adults and are often treated differently. – Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • Because brain tumors are located at the control center for thought, emotion and movement, their effects on a child’s physical and cognitive abilities can be devastating. – Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • Quality of life for survivors of pediatric brain tumors is influenced by the long-term side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. – Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • Cancer is the number one disease killer of children in America - more than Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Asthma and AIDS combined.
  • 1 in 330 children in the U.S. will develop cancer by age 20. On the average, 12,500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.
  • The cause of most childhood cancers are unknown and at present, cannot be prevented. (Most adult cancers result from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, occupation, and other exposure to cancer-causing agents).
  • At this time, brain cancer research is underfunded and the public remains unaware of the magnitude of this disease. The cure rate for most brain cancers is significantly lower than that for many other types of cancer.
  • According to a September 12, 2008 article by Helen Jonsen, Forbes.com senior editor, the funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials has gone down every year since 2003, and is currently $26.4 million. By comparison, NCI funding for AIDS research was $254 million in 2006; funding for breast cancer topped $584 million the same year.
  • We may spend 3-5 times the amount of research money per patient on most adult cancer cases than we do on children with cancer.
  • In general, children with Central Nervous System (CNS) cancer do not share the favorable prognosis of those with many other common pediatric neoplasms. – National Cancer Institute
Here are a some of the only charities dedicated to finding a cure for DIPG. If you can help any of them in any way, please PLEASE do. 









Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Anniversary weekend

Kevin has shown an interest in photography. So I decided for an anniversary present, I'd get him a DSLR camera. I knew it would mean that he and I could spend time taking pictures of stuff together. Therefore in a way, it was the perfect "us" gift. He loved it! Just as planned, we went to downtown Austin on Sunday and spent the majority of the morning/afternoon wandering around with the cameras. Here are just a few of the pictures I took from our outing.

First, we had a wonderful belated anniversary brunch at a historic Victorian home set on a lush property. There were beautiful peacocks, peahens, and pea-chicks running around. Even a few white peacocks!


After brunch, we went to the Texas State Capitol. I've been to a few state capitols in my life, but Texas by far is the most beautiful! The building is full of history, hallways, staircases, and was lots of fun to get lost with a camera in.


Even though it was a little overcast, it was a great day spending time together.

I've been having kind of a hard time as the estimated due date (Oct 30 - tomorrow) of baby Maggie approaches, but I'm glad I was able to stay distracted and happy with my wonderful husband this weekend. My current cycle is moving right along too. November 19th will be here before I even know it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Prayers desperately needed

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you will know of my amazing embryo donor, Libby. She is an incredible mother to her four young children and a super hero to us and the snowflakes she graciously and selflessly gifted to us earlier this year.

She and her family have just learned that their six year old daughter has a brain tumor. Please say prayers for all of them - Prayers for her daughter, prayers that the doctors can help her little one, prayers for comfort for her and her husband, and prayers for her three younger children as well.

Friday, October 25, 2013

And the verdict is....

Green light!
My estrogen levels came back at 24 so I am cleared to start Estrace and decrease Lupron tomorrow! I'm still in shock because I was certain I'd be delayed due to no period, but whaddya know? I've got the clearance to continue with my calendar! What a great way to start the weekend!