Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The results are in! We are having a...


MaterniT21 all came back negative!

Her name will be Samantha Lynn

We are thrilled to be able to welcome baby Sammy to the world this Summer! Her middle name is to honor my mom who I know is here today. :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

After the announcement

We had lots of friends and family send congratulatory messages to us for our miracle snowflake baby. No one asked me any questions about embryo adoption, but I imagine they might at some point as things progress. Unfortunately, I was really angry to hear about one of Kevin's "friends" (and I use that term only because Facebook categorizes him as such) didn't congratulate or acknowledge our post, but instead went on his own Facebook status to make fun of the fact that one of the commenters on my announcement said our baby was cute. He thought he was so funny and hillarious. It infuriated Kevin and really pissed me off too.

Unfriended. A forty-something-year-old man with two daughters of his own, making fun of a tiny little baby. Seriously? I had some choice words for him, but I won't say them here.

But other than that, we had nothing but love and happiness!

I also had a friend reach out to me on the side with offers to sew me stuff for baby, and another friend offered to throw my baby shower in July! I am so touched by this, I can't even put it into words. After my mom passed away, I figured I wouldn't even have a baby shower. So I'm thrilled to know I will after all. We are already pinning stuff to a mutual Pinterest board for it. And of course, it will be snowflake themed!

Kevin is still working on the nursery. We obviously have plenty of time, but I think the painting will be done this weekend or next. That's great because we already have furniture on it's way! We took advantage of an Amazon promotion for baby gear and got ourselves a crib and mattress:
And also a bookshelf, which I'm extra excited about because I can't wait to read stories to this little one!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

NT scan and Facebook announcement

I had my 12w NT scan today and....


We are so overjoyed. I don't remember the exact measurements, but the neck fold was well below their threshold, and the nasal bone was definitely present. The sonographer said baby looked like, and I quote, a SUPERSTAR. Yes, she used the word SUPERSTAR!

And the icing on the cake is that this ultrasound was done abdominally. So for the first time ever I was able to keep my pants on! LOL. I know it seems silly, but it's a milestone, friends! :)

We are still having MaterniT21 screening done because we aren't 100% sure of the family history of our anonymous Romanian embryo donor. We should get the results in about 10 days. And those results will also include the sex of baby snowflake! So stay tuned, I'll definitely post those results with all kind of fanfare.

And in other exciting news, we announced on Facebook today!

Here's the picture I used, complete with the 3d ultrasound photo that came from today's appointment!

I also posted the following to really get the details out there:

After several painful years of infertility, two miscarriages, and through the miracle of embryo adoption, Kevin and I are finally expecting our first baby due August 7th! Our miracle was frozen for many years before joining our family. Because these special embryos are each frozen as one-of-a-kind, tiny miracles, we refer to them as snowflakes! I know many of you may not be familiar with embryo adoption and may be curious about it. I encourage you to ask me questions because it’s a topic I love to talk about. We can’t wait for our beloved snowflake baby to melt our hearts this summer.
 And to those of you who are silently suffering as you endure the unbelievably painful battle with infertility and/or loss, please know you are forever in my prayers. You are not alone.

I know all too well how painful pregnancy announcements can be. So I hope and pray that my acknowledgement to those suffering helps lessen the blow a bit. I truly do pray every night for those who suffer from IF and loss. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

So I guess that's it! We are out and open now. I hope this is just the beginning of our getting the word out there about the amazing blessing of embryo adoption!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Symptoms, painting, and smiling babies

Things are still going great. I'm able to pick up baby's heartbeat on the doppler within mere seconds of trying now. I guess that must mean baby is growing quickly!

Interestingly enough, my symptoms dissipated at around 9-10 weeks, but came back with a vengeance over the past few days. I threw up so violently on Saturday morning that my chest was sore for days. I'll take pregnancy however I can get it, even if its wrought full of all kinds of not-so-fun things, but this last weekend definitely was a bit more challenging than I've experienced so far! Central Texas is experiencing major cedar pollen and it's causing me to have a hard time sleeping because I'm so congested. Everything pregnancy-safe isn't working, so I'm just praying the cedar calms down here soon so I can get a little rest.

A few days ago I had a strange experience. I got up off of the couch and found I had a hard time walking or putting weight on my right leg. I felt the pain down low in the groin area. My first thought was round ligament pain. But after it persisted into the following morning, I decided to read about it and I ultimately I think what I was experiencing was symphisis pubic dysfunction. The pain wasn't exactly sharp, but it was constant, which makes me think it wasn't round ligament pain. I'll be talking to my OB about it at the NT scan Thursday because it was pretty debilitating when it happened. I was waddling and holding onto counters and chairs to walk. Luckily, it only lasted about 14 hours. But if it comes back and sticks around, it could mean physical therapy. Whatever it takes for this baby to make it here safe and sound, I'll do. :)

In other news, Kevin started painting the nursery yesterday! Regardless of boy or girl, the basic color scheme in the room will be gray and white paint similar to the room below that we are using for inspiration. A boy will have blue accents and girl will have pink accents like the picture here:

Kevin is so sweet. He wouldn't even let me lift a finger to help. He's dreamed about painting the nursery since as far back as I can remember. He told me to come upstairs once he had finished the ceiling and I did, only to find this on the wall.

Kevin + Elizabeth <3 baby!
Adorable, no? I love this man!

Yesterday we went grocery shopping. Booooooring. But on the way out, there was a little girl who was maybe eight months or so being pushed around by her mom in the shopping cart ahead of us. This adorable little girl looked right at us, with this ridiculously cute smile on her face. We smiled back, waved, and she gave us an even bigger grin. It just melted our hearts. It reminded me of the amazing prize at the end of all of this. It reminded me what all of the last three years of fighting has been for. As silly as this sounds, sometimes the tangible baby at the end of this journey is easy to forget because you're so busy protecting yourself by only living day-by-day, week by week. But in that moment of seeing this little baby girl smile at us, my heart grew about five sizes remembering we will soon have a tangible, smiling baby of our own.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My little lime!

With my new and official due date of August 7, 2014, I am 11w pregnant today! Baby is the size of a lime! That seems so huge!
I'm having frequent dreams about baby at night. For example, I had a dream last night that we went in for the NT scan at the mall. Yes, at a mall kiosk. And I ended up getting caught in a basement hair salon (that required a ladder to get to) and missed the scan! They did it without me! Don't ask me how they did it without me, but they did. And when I got back to the kiosk, they laid out all the completed NT scan results and photos for the day on the ground and you had to find your own. No names listed. I was upset that I had to guess which results belonged to me. This crazy brain of mine sure comes up with some creative dreams.

I'm also being cliche and craving pickles. We got a huge jar of the big ones over the weekend and I'm eating at least one or two every day. The crunch, the sourness, everything about them I love! I still have many food aversions and find myself with plenty of nausea and gagging, but I think it's funny that this, of all things, is my craving.

And last night was the last of my REs meds! No more PIO! No more estrace! Buh bye!

One week left until the NT scan and MaterniT21 bloodwork. Praying everything is okay in there!

Monday, January 13, 2014

First nursery item and a home doppler!

Yeah, I know I'm only 10w4d, but we bought our first big item online yesterday for our future nursery. Kevin found the perfect glider/recliner and it was just too good of a deal to pass up. It was over 50% off for two days only, AND we had a coupon code expiring so we decided to bite the bullet and get it. Remember our nursery inspiration? It will work perfectly! I'm excited because I've been pretty lukewarm about most gliders, but when Kevin saw this one, he knew it would be calling my name. He was right. My heart went pitter-patter when I saw it.

If God-forbid (and I hate even saying this) something happened to this baby, the nursery decor would be the same for any baby that would come to us through any other way. So I have no regrets in getting things for our nursery when I see great deals on them.

Also in baby news, someone gave me a free home doppler! It's a Sonoline B. I tried it out on Friday and within a few minutes, I found baby's beautiful heartbeat! I told my OB that I was getting one, and he warned me about the frequency that women call him freaking out due to not finding the heartbeat at home. I promised him I wouldn't do that, and I am looking at it more like a novelty item. If I can't find it, it's just because baby is hiding or moving around. I tried finding the heartbeat a second time when Kevin was around and it took quite a bit longer. I know it's not an easy feat. Finding it feels like finding a needle in a haystack, so that's reassuring if/when I can't find it. I imagine I'm only going to use it once or twice a week anyway. Thank you to the person who gave it to me. You know who you are! :)

And lastly, I took Oscar to the vet on Saturday because he wasn't getting any better. Turns out he had a bacterial overgrowth infection called Clostridium. The vet reassured me not to worry about it impacting my pregnancy. He's been on antibiotics and seems to be lots better. Hallelujah! Thank goodness that weight has been lifted.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My first OB appointment

I had my first OB appointment this morning!

Kevin and I adore this OB. He is such a caring person and an excellent doctor. We met him on a very panicked day back in March as we sought a second opinion when the RE nurse told me I had an ectopic. That turned out to not be true, but still ended in a devastating loss. He compassionately held our hands as we walked down the horrible path until we knew that a D&C was inevitable. Our relationship with him at that time was only about three weeks long. Because of this, I wondered if he would even remember us at our appointment today.

No question. He did. :)

Kevin and I were both greeted with giant hugs, smiles, and a emphatic "welcome back!" For a doctor who must see hundreds of patients a year, it felt really nice for him to remember not only us, but to also remember what we had been through last time we were there almost a year earlier.

He was so excited to hear about where we were today. And he was even more excited to hear about the unique circumstances! He asked us how we got our embryos, and said that he frequently has patients who went through IVF and don't know what to do with their remaining embryos. I used the opportunity to tell him of the options available in the hopes he might share that information in the future. I got teary-eyed explaining to him what a life-changing (and life-giving) gift this has been for us. Maybe some of his other patients might consider this path because of our story. I sure hope so.

First things first - the much anticipated ultrasound. We were hoping to finally see what looked like a baby shape in there. We were hoping for some stumpy appendages or maybe the shape of a gummy bear. We were so amazed to see that not only did this baby look like an actual baby, but he/she decided to dance around for us! It truly took our breath away. We could have watched baby dance all day! I couldn't believe when the nurse said she had recorded it on DVD for us to take home. I'm excited to be able to share this with you all.  I cropped it down to short 30 second clip so you can see this snowflake baby dancing around in there. Snowflake: Party of one!

Baby measured in at 10w. The doctor decided my due date would be changed from August 6 to officially be August 7. Works for me!

After the ultrasound, we talked about basic pregnancy stuff, medications, but everything he said was beyond reassuring. He said the baby was "super good looking" and appeared very healthy. He said he felt confident that this pregnancy would be filled with joy and happy tears, as opposed to last time we were there.

We scheduled the next appointment for two weeks from today which would be the NT scan and MaterniT21 bloodwork. No matter the outcome, we'd never terminate. EVER. But if something came back positive, we'd just want to know what to expect. And the icing on the cake is that the blood test result will also contain the gender! Kevin and I think it's a girl. But of course we'd be happy with either one. Oh my gosh we are so excited!

I planned the day off of work for some "me" time. So after the appointment, I decided to go to Old Navy to look at maternity clothes. Unfortunately I couldn't find the maternity section in the store so I asked a lady at checkout. She said "We don't have a maternity section, but I have a few internet returns that are maternity if you want to take a look at these." And guess what? They were coincidentally just in my size and majorly discounted! SCORE! I tried them on and ended up getting two adorable shirts and a really cute sleeveless maxi dress. While in the dressing room wearing the dress, I poked my belly out as far as I could get it to go and dreamed about a big baby bump this summer!

When I got to checkout, the same woman asked me how far along I was since obviously I had just asked about maternity clothes. I told her "10 weeks" and she exclaimed "That's so great! Congratulations!"

I quickly debated whether or not to try out my elevator speech on her for the first time. I decided to go for it.

"This baby is a miracle because he or she is actually adopted. We adopted this baby as an embryo!"

There I said it. There was then opening line I had practiced in my head.

She looked amazed and started asking some really great questions. I explained in a nutshell how it worked, how we transferred an embryo from two different donor families and we don't know which one it was. She was fascinated, and then opened up to tell me that she and her husband had just adopted from the Ukraine after battling secondary infertility! I thought it was such a neat conversation to have at the checkout of a clothing store. I left with not only a bag of deeply discounted maternity clothes that were coincidentally just in my size, but with a warmed heart on an already perfect day talking to another adoptive mama.

I know I've said this before but I'll say it again: I am so incredibly grateful for where I am today.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The doggy horror show

I'm 10 weeks today! It feels like a big accomplishment seeing how it puts me in double digit zone. I never got this far with pregnancy/miscarriage #1. We celebrated (yeah right!) with our dog, Oscar, who blessed our home with a horrible case of diarrhea at 2am. Not quite the 10 week celebration we had in mind. Poor pup. It's probably my fault for giving him a few pieces of popcorn after dinner. Note to self: This dog will never get popcorn again. This is a really gross post so only read if you're not eating and are brave. But the last six hours of my life have been filled with....well, massive grossness.

Most of my acute morning sickness happens in the middle of the night, so waking up to a dog disaster around 2am such as this one was a perfect storm. It was one of those things that wakes you thinking "what's that smell?" then you turn the lights on dreading what you're about to see, only to discover a horrible scene far worse than you feared. We pulled out the carpet cleaner, sopped everything up, and cleaned the carpet like mad. Oscar was put in the master bathroom for the rest of night where at least it's tiled. Kevin and I couldn't handle the horrible smell that lingered so we ended up sleeping in our guest room while Oscar stayed alone in the bathroom. At least I left the light on for him. Poor dude! I had a hard time falling asleep until after 3am because I was so incredibly nauseated.

I woke up around 7am hoping the worst part was over. But unfortunately, I was wrong. Now the master bathroom was covered in Oscar's illness. This time it was too much for me to bear. What started with me gagging turned into more. I puked. Twice. Kevin was already at work so I was solo on cleanup duty for this one! I'm proud to say that I did it, though. It's a freakin' miracle! I'm proud because this makes me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to!

I'm trying to look at the bright side. Waking up in the middle of the night to horrific bodily fluids from a creature I love is a good training camp for baby, right? There has to be a bright side, so I'll tell myself this is it.

Update: As if the morning poo-mageddon 2014 wasn't enough....

After work while taking out the garbage, Kevin accidentally stepped in dog poo and dragged it all over the carpet in the house. He graciously got the carpet cleaner out and cleaned it up. When it was all done, he went to empty the poo-water bucket into the toilet when it accidentally fell over dumping about a gallon of said poo-water all over the bathroom. I'm talking the walls, the floor, EVERYTHING was covered in horrific poo water. A few expletives later, he pulled from his firefighting hazmat training and spent the next 30 minutes cleaning and disinfecting everything. Let's just say I'll die a happy woman if I never have to confront this much dog poo ever again in a single day!

Sometimes you just have to laugh at it all. :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Not if......when.

I've been living my life as much like a normal pregnant woman as much as I possibly can. I've been eating foods I can stomach, which generally are bizarre. And I'm avoiding prior favorites like shrimp and crab like the plague. I constantly tell Kevin that "we" love him (me and baby!) We daydream of our nursery, talk about labor and delivery, and are thinking of our future with baby in it. My pants have been getting tighter lately so I decided to treat myself with some new clothes. I got three pairs of maternity jeans yesterday at Target! Oh maternity pants: Where in the world have you been all my life? So comfortable!

Feeling so normal has created a tiny voice nagging me in the back of my mind that says, "Why are you acting like this baby is actually going to be born? You're just jinxing yourself." But I've been able to smash that voice away pretty easily whenever I think of baby's amazing heartbeat. Logically, I know anything could happen. But I'm relishing in this blissful hope and optimism that this baby will be the one we finally take home this summer. I'm surprised at how well the optimism has been going! It's the answer to my prayers because I thought every waking moment would be wrought with fear and anxiety. I am eternally grateful it's not like that.

I still worry though. For example, 90% of the time when I have occasional cramps, I smile as I imagine baby growing and stretching in there. In fact, he/she is now the size of a green olive! But the other 10% of the time when I feel cramps, that nagging voice tells me I'm starting to miscarry again. It's crazy, but I suppose it's inevitable considering my previous losses.

Many of my symptoms disappeared around the 9w mark. That did kind of freak me out a little. But they appear to be back now in slightly different forms. Instead of achy/heavy breasts, now I'll feel electrical shocks shooting through them! I understand that symptoms start to let up around the 9w mark anyway. Totally normal. And probably a good thing I am feeling relief. I still wake up to middle of the night with nausea and I smile.

I hope I can continue this optimism as my pregnancy progresses because I know myself and this "me" is very unlike the "me" I've known for years. I never thought this "me" was even possible.

I'm finding myself telling myself over and over that it's not going to be if I meet this baby and hold him/her in my arms, but instead I'm operating under the pretense that it will be when.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I actually asked for more injections!

I'm finally at the 9w mark. Well, 9w1d, but who's counting? ;-) I'm supposed to finally start weaning off of my meds! My RE's normal protocol is start weaning meds at 9w to every other day and then at 10w stop altogether. Leading up to this week, I was elated to kick these injections to the curb. But the more I got to reading and thinking about it, it seemed a little early since many REs choose to stop meds more like 11w or 12w. It didn't quite sit well seeing how much is at stake.

Kevin and I talked about it and we thought we should email the RE for blood work for peace of mind, or at least allow me to extend my meds, or even do Crinone instead for a week or two. We'd be devastated if progesterone deficiency caused us to lose this little one. So I must be crazy for wanting to do more shots, but for the sake of my sanity, I had to at least ask!

Well, today my nurse called and explained that staying on the meds too long can mess with baby's sex organs. That I didn't know! We definitely don't want to do anything to jeopardize baby's health. But the doctor did suggest an extension of the weaning by one extra week. I am going to continue injections every day this week only I'll drop down to half the dose each time. And then starting next week, I'll go to every other day until I stop completely at 11w. I feel a lot better about this plan. She said blood work isn't helpful because once the placenta takes over, it can sustain baby on lower levels than what was needed in the beginning of the pregnancy. And generally speaking, seeing those lower progesterone level results from the lab causes patients unnecessary stress. I was sold on this plan, and am happy with the extra week of weaning.

One week left until my first OB appointment! Yay!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Here I am writing you from the year 2014. That sounds so....future-y. To recap my night last night, I was so tired, that I was in bed by about 9pm. So it marked the first new year in about 12 years that I haven't rang in January 1 with the count down. I wouldn't have changed it one bit! I have never looked forward to a new year so much. 2014 is finally our year.

2013 was.....what's the right word? Exhausting. We did three frozen embryo transfers, lost two babies, and were finally pregnant with a baby with a healthy, beating heart as we rang in the new year (or I guess you could say I snored in the new year.) But all of the hard work and heartache was so worth it. It has forever changed who I am and will be. Had someone told me ten years ago I'd be in this position, I would never have believed them. Never in a million years did I think I'd be an outspoken advocate for embryo adoption. I wouldn't have even known of it! Never did I think I could be pregnant with our adopted child. Never would I have believed I would have relationships with our genetic donor families. And never did I think it would have been this hard to get here. But the pain had a purpose because it's changed me. Forever.

My heart still aches, and will forever ache, for those of you are still praying for your miracles. I hate that any of us have to suffer from infertility and/or loss. It's been the hardest experience of my life times a hundred. It's so unfair that some of the most amazing women I've met are forced to fight this fight that they never signed up for. And then cruelly, the majority of the world doesn't understand their pain. So we suffer in silence.

There are literally no words to express the gratitude to God, to Kevin, to our donors, my fellow EA mama-friends, and to all of you. I couldn't have made it to this point without you all. I hope all of your dreams come true on whatever path you are on. I hope 2014 brings you success. And if nothing else, a promising path of hope for the future.