Friday, December 20, 2013

A letter

I wrote this December 12, three days before the embryo transfer.

Dear Habeep and Bappio,

I get to meet you soon.  I may only get to carry you for a very brief while, yet know that I love you.  Your Daddy loves you.  Your sister and brother  love you tremendously and already regale me with tales of your future joint exploits.

I hope, I pray, I dream that you get to stay with me a long, long while.  That you both grow in my womb for nine months and go on to greet the world full of life!

For you have we waited so long.  I pray that you both can become my Christmas joys.  Christmas week will be my first chance to find out if you're nestling in or have already moved on towards heaven.  Please, stay awhile.

Please be my Christmas joy.



Thursday, December 12, 2013


Optimism is...

...bidding on not one but two baby carriers in a local store's seasonal closeout auction. 


Make that three.  I threw a wrap in there too.

Perhaps I have a problem.

PS.  A note to my husband, I'm not planning on being super competitive with my bids.  But if I win any of these items, they'll be great deals.  Though I imagine you're still shaking your head at me...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back in the game!

Got the call this morning while I was teaching our weekly preschool co-op, I am back in the game!  Our December cycle is a go and the transfer is on for THIS SUNDAY morning, December 15. 

Having a transfer on Sunday is kinda stinky.  We'll round up the minions, all two of them, and head to Mass Saturday evening.  Guess I'll load them up on snacks before church because a 5:30 pm Mass with kids just ain't pretty.  On the bright side, Grandma will be with us and perhaps the chilluns will be better behaved with her as our guest.  (Grandma has graciously offered to watch the kids while we venture further into central Tejas for the transfer).

A six day transfer (embryos were grown for six days before being frozen originally in 2003) yields an official pregnancy test on Christmas Eve.  While I'm sure I can find labs open that day, at least in the morning, I'm wondering about the availability of results that afternoon.  Supposed to be a STAT test, does that apply on Christmas Eve?  I imagine we'll do a home test that morning, or the day prior, but it'd be nice to have some numbers to ease my concerns.  Hopefully.  Dear Lord, can we please have some Christmas miracles?

And while I haven't plugged in the dates to a due date calculator, I have done a rough estimate myself.  Early September.  And this is good, very good, because hubby's deployment is for later that month.  So unless my math is wrong or we end up with one very stubborn baby, there's a great chance Bryan can meet our little Habeep and/or Bappio in the flesh before he departs.

My brain amuses me at times.  Many times to be honest.  Yesterday, after realizing we're looking at early September, I was thinking of all the members of the September birth club that I know.  My sisters.  My sister-in-law.  My niece.  All GIRLS.  And then my brain decided that I will be having twin girls in September.  Because, you know, things work like that.

The novena is back on again as well, nine days of prayer for the lives of our adopted embryos and that our prayers to again be parents may be answered. 

Dear St. Gerard and St. Anne, Servants of God, this is a novena for your intercession that Andrea becomes pregnant and delivers healthy babies who will glorify and praise God.
Good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before the throne of God, wonder-worker of our day, we call upon you and seek your aid.  You know how much Bryan and Andrea desire the gift of more children.  Please present these fervent pleas to the Creator of life from whom all parenthood proceeds and beseech Him to bless this couple with children whom they may raise as His children and heirs of heaven.   

St Anne, you gave birth at a late age to our Queen of heaven and earth, the Most Holy Mary. That is what God wanted. With God nothing is impossible. We believe that God, Creator of heaven and earth will look kindly upon Andrea and give her the blessing, through Mary, the Virgin Mother of God and your intercession, of becoming a mother of her adopted children whom she will love and thank God for.
Dear Saints Gerard and Anne, please help our prayers to be answered and that Andrea’s womb will be filled with the beating hearts of tiny babies. We already give you thanks and sincerely believe in your intercession.*

Any prayers or good thoughts will be much appreciated in these coming days!

*A quick note for any non-Catholics reading this, when we pray to Saints in heaven, we are not detracting from Christ's heavenly glory.  We are merely asking individuals who have shown a special strength in an area (in this case, motherhood or care of mothers) to add their prayers to our own.  Just as we might ask earthly friends to pray for us, so we ask those in heaven to pray for those of us still fighting the good fight on earth.  The Saints' proximity to God makes their prayers more powerful than our own, though any graces we receive come from Christ Himself through His friends in heaven.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Drat and double drat

I had planned on posting today. 

I had planned on posting the prayers my church friends had assembled for us in these nine days leading up to the transfer.

Instead, I get to say goodbye to the November transfer.

Had my lining check today.  This is an essential pre-transfer step, ensuring the uterine lining is all comfy cozy for the embryos and that I'm ready to start progesterone.

And while my womb is all comfy cozy deluxe mattress like (10.2 lining for those who know what this means), I already ovulated.  And since transfers are timed to coordinate with ovulation (in the event ovulation isn't suppressed altogether), this just won't do. 

Hello, December transfer.

Honestly, either November or December could work for us.  We're out a little bit of money by this cycle failure, but there are no major events we're working around.

However...  and there's always a however, or a but....  However, we do run into issues on the other end of things. 

December transfer means September birth.  And a certain husband is tentatively scheduled for the sandbox in September.  And October, November, December, January....  you get the idea.

I'm not going to get all gloom and doom.  Habeep and Bappio are still waiting for us, no problems there.  And military wives have been delivering babies solo for years, if that's what ends up happening.

And so, we alter the plans.  Refocus the prayers.  And proceed onwards.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Have you seen that November thankfulness challenge that's going around on Facebook?  I'm not doing that one, largely because I'm not mentally organized enough to post something everyday.  And also because there are some days where I'm just not very thankful.

Today's not one of those days. Today my heart is swelling a bit with pride (the good kind), joy, and thankfulness.

At the urging of my priest last year (and the urging of my lonely spirit), I started up a Moms Group at my church.  Pushed me way out of my comfort zone because, when you get down to it, I'm more of a planner than an executer.  Is that the right word?   It looks funny... Anyway, I digress.  I was lonely and we hadn't been in Texas long.  God, through my priest, said  stop whining and go help yourself.

And I did.  begrudgingly.

Now a year and change later, I have the most wonderful friends to show for it.

One of the moms in our group has really had a dismal last five weeks. She's pregnant, has been put on bed rest and can only walk with a walker when ambulating is necessary.  She has a toddler at home and a deployed husband.  In light of her hardship, I am blown away by the selflessness of our little group.  One organized a meal train.  We've all been taking turns babysitting the toddler.  Today, we had a "pimp my walker" party at  Moms Group.  The walker looks very autumnal now, in case you were curious.

Our kids all love each other and pitch fits when they have to leave someone else's house.  The husbands don't even protest too much when they're dragged along to a gathering.

The other moms have decided to organize a novena for our upcoming embryo transfer.  Note to non-Catholics, a novena is a prayer said nine times, usually once a day for nine days, but any frequency could work.  We're the only couple dealing with infertility and adoption in our group, but it is not a taboo topic by any means.

And I like it. We are all accepted as we are, where we are in life.  My little group gives and loves selflessly.  We share in the joys and sorrows of Catholic motherhood.  We share in the joys and sorrows of loving our Soldiers (and an airman too).  Oh, and we share coffee, wine, and desserts too.

Thank you, God, for pushing me out of my comfort zone last year.  I am so blessed.

Oh, and on another note, I am very thankful that our adopted embryos are now at our clinic waiting for us.  See you in two weeks, Habeep and Bappio!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A child-like hope

First off, I want to say thank you for the kind words and prayers following my last post.  I am, a week later, feeling like myself again.  I can smile and laugh and breathe.  Whew.

On to other matters.  Twenty-two days.  Three weeks and one day.  We will meet our next frozen two in just a shade over three weeks.  While the numbers seem fairly close, the proximity of the transfer hasn't quite hit me yet.  Perhaps because I haven't flipped to that calendar month yet.  tomorrow...

The kids have decided to name these two waiting embryos Habeep and Bappio. These are names of their own creation and they're so delighted to add in Habeep and Bappio to our nightly prayer intentions.  I've been informed that Habeep is a boy and Bappio is a girl.

The child-like trust amazes me. Cora and Mac have sincere hope that they will meet their two siblings face to face sometime after their fourth birthday.  (My due date will be August-ish; their birthday is July).

As an adult, I find myself made cautious by prior failings.  I want to qualify everything with an "if" or "maybe".  Instead I am finding myself fascinated by the hope of children. 

Cora and Mac hope and pray completely for their waiting baby seeds.  Though they experienced sorrow with me in May after the failed transfer, their hope is not dampened. 

They hoped in May for siblings that they could meet and hold and snuggle.  And they grieved the loss of those three baby seeds. 

Here we are again, months later, and Cora and Mac can once again hope fully.

Typical adults would hold back some of their hope, their dreams after prior failures.  There is pain following the loss of a dream.  An adult sees that, remembers that, and proceeds forward guarded.  A child sees that, remembers that, and proceeds forward holding nothing back. 

While I teach my children much about the terminology and biology of adoption and embryo adoption, I am learning too.  Learning about love and hope, how to hope fully with my whole being.  And sometimes, I think they are the better teachers.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Keeping it real

Yesterday I took my last birth control dose.  It's just a small little pill but oh my gosh does it wreck havoc on my system.

When I was doing my prep for our May transfer, I noted that the birth control pills turned me into kind of a psycho b*tch.  It could have been the stress of the transfer and our local move too, but I was not pleasant to be around. 

I was so fearful that I would have the same reaction this time.  In the beginning, I didn't.  Nope, I had nausea, a near fainting spell, and more nausea for the first five of the seventeen days.  I experimented with the timing of the pill, hoping maybe I could find the perfect window that would alleviate those symptoms.  Things did improve.

I've been staying busy and didn't really notice that psycho b*tch was coming back.  Apparently she made a more subtle appearance this time.

I realized today that I can't remember the last time I laughed.  And that parenthood is kicking my behind.  And that if I can't handle the drama of two three year olds, how on earth will I be able to handle homeschooling one day.  And I'm so tired all the time, even though I'm sleeping okay at night.  And that I just want to be alone. 

I realized last night that I feel like I have a screw in my back that's being cranked tighter and tighter and tighter. 

I've always been more serious, more melancholic even, but this?  This is not normal me.  This, I realized in the shower tonight, is a depressed hormonal me, resulting from the bcp's. 

My kids have suffered in the lack of a mom who smiles and laughs and rolls with the punches. 

My husband has suffered in the lack of a wife who is considerate and patient.

My parents are visiting and must think that if I can't find joy in my own two kids, why am I seeking more?

And I want to shout, that's not me!  I'm beating on the walls of this glass case I feel trapped within - let me out!  Let me live my life again!

Before you become too concerned for my mental sanity, let me point out that I will be getting some me time tomorrow.  I took my last dose of the bcp's yesterday and hope and PRAY that my sense of humor and ability to breathe return.  I was on the receiving end of quality snuggles with the kids tonight and even got to hold a sleeping child.  Nothing more serene than that.

I have hope that my hormonal and emotional balance will be righted.  Can you spare a prayer or two that God will help me kick psychotic b*tch to the curb?  It's not really a persona I wish to keep around.

PS.  Thank you for your prayers regarding the embryo transport lack of communication.  Communication has been resumed and we're able to move forward.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Increasingly antsy

The clinic contacted me last week so I could get the ball rolling on shipping the embryos from the genetic family's clinic to ours.  I don't have to do much really, just make sure the agency and the clinic are communicating with each other.

Basically, the clinic said, "we're ready!"  (Last Monday)

And I told the agency, "go!" (Last Monday)

And nothing happened.

I did get an email confirming my request for shipment and that someone would be contacting me soon to line it all up.  (Last Tuesday)


I reached out to both clinic and agency last Friday, to see if maybe they were working out details without me.  I'm not the clinic's first Snowflake patient; there is already an established relationship between the two entities.


I emailed the clinic again this morning (Tuesday). Got an answer - shipping coordinator has heard nothing on her end.

I emailed the agency again this morning.


I'll give them one more day and call Thursday.  This is my fourth transfer over the years to orchestrate with the agency so I can honestly say this is uncharacteristic behavior for them.  Regardless, I can't help but wonder, where are my embryos?!

Could you please say a quick prayer that these communication difficulties be resolved quickly?  As my title indicates, I'm getting increasingly antsy.  Thank you!

Monday, October 7, 2013

And We're Off!

First prescription was called in for our next embryo transfer!

Start birth control tomorrow.  Lucky for me, I only have to endure bc for about two weeks and then I get to drop that evil to the curb (based on last time, I'm not a nice person to be around while on bc).  Then, a few days later, I'll start adding in the cocktail of estrogen and, a bit later still, progesterone to ready my womb for our two waiting snowbabies.

Reminder - since we are not doing a natural transfer (one timed precisely with my own cycles), the clinic manipulates my cycles through the use of hormones.  This clinic uses birth control; my Virginia clinic used lupron injections.  Some places use a combination of both lupron and birth control.

November 22 is the day!  Prayer warriors, start your engines!

And, tentatively speaking, it looks like I'll get to do my beta check (first pregnancy test) while we are taking a mini-family vacation.  We've decided to go more for memories rather than items for Christmas this year and are taking the kids to Great Wolf Lodge for one night (thanks Zulily for the discount!).  And as our little trip coincides with my beta test, I'll get to scout out labs in the Dallas area.

I'm in an interesting place mentally.  I've been longing for more children for so long now yet I'm emotionally guarded after our last failed transfer.  There's a big race that I hope to compete in in May if I'm not pregnant.  Yet I want very much to be pregnant.  I want these "baby seeds" to live.  I have no idea what will happen next on our journey to grow our family if this transfer fails or if I miscarry.  Basically, my brain works this way right now:  Option A:  transfer is a success - healthy pregnancy!  Option B:  not pregnant - compete in Spartan Race in May with group of friends. 

Option A is preferred, but Option B sounds like great fun other than the whole "not pregnant" part.  :-/

So I get to wait and see how the future unfolds.  One of these days, I'll really learn just how little control I have over it AND how everything works out okay in the end.

Please don't think I'm equating pregnancy or future motherhood with a race.  Pregnancy is always on my mind but intangible at the moment and for an unknown future length of time.  I just competed in a little mud run at the end of September, that is more "real" to me right now.  Not better by any means, just more tangible.  I can work towards a race - I have more control over that outcome.  A pregnancy?  A successful FET?  Those are things I cannot control, despite my efforts.

So much for a nice, chipper post, sorry about that.  At any rate, we're off again!  Revving up the engines, prepping for embryo transfer number four.  God, please hold those little "baby seeds" in Your hands.  Please hold all of us in Your hands! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Goverment Shutdown

Today is September 30.  I don't know if the government will shut down.  I don't know if we will receive our October 15 paycheck. 

I am not worried about our absolutely essential expenses.  Yet.  That time could come and come quickly.

Our November embryo transfer is not an essential expense.  And we're scheduled to start those appointments/payments/medications right before that potential delayed paycheck.

Bottomline, if our October 15 paycheck is delayed, the transfer must likewise be delayed.

*hissyfit off in the corner*

A general side note - the inadequacies of the government is forcing my husband to rethink the military as his long term career.  His motivation has never been love for the government or the Army.  The military has paid the bills and provided us reasonable health insurance.  Could you keep working for an employer who doesn't know how or when it'll pay its employees?

And, a side note to the Army, if my husband leaves, you will be loosing a GREAT Soldier.  Yes, I'm biased (I'm the wife, I'm supposed to be).  But I also know what his semi-annual or annual evaluative reports say.  And he is a GREAT Soldier.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Conflict and the Eventual Resolution

Sorry for the absence.  I fully intended to hope back on with a "Biology Part II" right away.  And that entry does exist.  In the recesses of my brain.

I'm normally a keep quiet, don't over-commit myself sort of person so I can preserve a precious balance at home.  Well, something happened and I keep starting things.  Once I get into October, I'll have a little more perspective and a little more peace, but right now I'm starting a preschool co-op, restarting the Moms' Study Group at church, coordinating a group for an upcoming mud run, and trying to pull our adoption plans from the back burner back to the forefront.  And a couple other little things thrown in too (like finding an ipad game that I'll actually play, err, get totally sucked into (Mathdoku) and the ever present reading for entertainment).  So the ole blog has been a wee bit neglected lately.


Back to the title of this entry:  Conflict and the Eventual Resolution.

Once upon a time, way back in 2008, my hubby and I started the adoption process with our first home study.  And though we agreed on many many points, we disagreed on levels of racial openness.  Our disagreement was a thorn in my side.  Perhaps it should be more apt to say Bryan's inability to accept my point of view as his own caused great discord.  Hey, I'm just being honest here.

Time passed.

The topic of racial openness in adoption has come up again and again over the years.  I must admit, rather than trying to hear out my husband's point of view, I frequently just took everything he said as a personal offense. 

It wasn't.  And his views were valid.  I still disagreed, but I eventually matured to a point that I could see the validity of his opinion.

I think the last time we really hashed out this argument was around our last home study and beginning of our matching process this time around, so late 2012 or early 2013.  And we STILL DISAGREED. 

I did something most unusual for me - I stopped talking about it.  I stopped trying to force him to change his mind.  Instead, I began to pray that when the time was right, he would be open.

Time passed.

A week and a half ago, I read a blog advertising an urgent need for home study qualified adoptive parents.  I followed up on the situation:  an African American baby girl was just born and needed adoptive parents immediately.  Adoptive costs would be between 25k to 30k.

My heart just sunk. 

I still presented the information to Bryan assuming I knew what his response would be.  And I was right.  And wrong.  We don't have that sort of money.  We don't have enough resources to compile that sort of money.  It just wasn't going to happen.  (That's the part I was right on.)

But then I got my proverbial socks knocked off me.  Money was the ONLY STICKING POINT in that scenario; race was not an issue.  And, in further conversation with Bryan, it seemed as if this was old news to him and he had just accidentally forgotten to tell me that we were now on the same page. (!!!!!)

Long story short, we didn't move forward on that scenario but I was reminded once again to never underestimate the power of prayer (though the answers often come in their own time).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Biology - part one

I follow a handful of embryo adoption blogs and know that there are a variety of things that the donating couple could be called without incurring much debate:  genetic parents, donating couple, donors...  With embryo adoption, unlike the other traditional forms of adoption, the genetic parents are not the birth parents.  The adoptive parents are the birth parents and that's so cut and dried that there's no grounds for debate on that terminology.

And then you get to the word "biological".  Que discussion.

Option A:  "Biological" can be used interchangeably with "genetic".

Example:  Cora and Mac are not my biological children.  They do not share my genes, my DNA.

Option B:  Biological is tied in with the gestational experience and birth.

Example:  Cora and Mac are my biological children; we shared the biological experience of gestation and birth.  They are who they are today in part because of how my body grew them.

The distinction is not quite as clear cut as one may believe due to a concept called "epigenetics".  Essentially, the woman who carries the pregnancy is more than just a vessel.  In the somewhat recent history of scientific discoveries, researchers have discovered that there are connections formed between the child(ren) in utero and the mother, beyond the inherited DNA.  Everything put into the pregnant woman's body influences the development of the embryos.

I know that we adopted embryos, but I've found clearer wording from egg donation sources.  The following quote is still relevant because in both scenarios, material is introduced in to a woman's body that is genetically foreign. 

Freedom Pharmacy has a booklet about egg donation (p. 10):

“Perhaps the greatest myth surrounds pregnancy. Many believe the uterus is simply an incubator. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most important aspect of all pregnancies- including egg donation pregnancies- is that as the fetus grows, every cell in the developing body is built out of the pregnant mother’s body. Tissue from her uterine lining will contribute to the formation of the placenta, which will link her and her child. The fetus will use her body’s protein, then she will replace it. The fetus uses her sugars, calcium, nitrates, and fluids, and she will replace them. So, if you think of your dream child as your dream house, the genes provide merely a basic blueprint, the biological mother takes care of all the materials and construction, from the foundation right on up to the light fixtures. So, although her husband’s aunt Sara or the donor’s grandfather may have genetically programmed the shape of the new baby’s earlobe, the earlobe itself is the pregnant woman’s “flesh and blood.” That means the earlobe, along with the baby herself, grew from the recipient’s body. That is why she is the child’s biological mother. That is why this child is her biological child.”

Another source elaborates further on the impact of epigenetics and well, egg donation, but, as I said earlier, it's relevant in the discussion of embryo adoption too.

"Genes must be ‘expressed’ within an individual in order to have an effect.

"The same gene or genes can express in a number of different ways depending upon the environment. A gene can remain ’silent’ or unexpressed; it can be expressed strongly; it can be expressed weakly, and so on. There is also an entire field of study called imprinting having to do with which gene you ‘activate,’ the copy you received from your mother, or the copy you received from your father.

"The field of epigenetics studies these phenomenon, and popular journalism is just starting to write about it. While the Human Genome Project was still underway, we usually heard genes referred to as ‘the Bible’ of the human being, as a kind of absolute truth concerning the fundamental nature of the

"That is now changing.

"In a donor egg pregnancy, the pregnant woman’s womb is the environment.It is her genes, not the donor’s, that determine the expression of thedonor-egg baby’s genes.

"A donor egg baby gets her genes from the donor; she gets the‘instructions’ on the expression of those genes from the woman who carries her to term.

"This means that a donor egg baby has 3 biological parents: a father, the egg donor, and the woman who carries the pregnancy.

"The child who is born would have been a physically & no doubt emotionally different person if carried by his genetic mother.

"In horse breeding for example, it’s not uncommon to implant a pony embryo into the womb of a horse.  The foals that result, are different from normal ponies.They’re bigger. These animals’ genotype – their genes – are the same as a pony’s, but their phenotype – what their genes actually look like in the living animal – is different."

I kind of have mixed feelings about all of this but am struggling to put my thoughts into words.  So, for now I'll ask, what do you think?

Friday, August 16, 2013


Bryan and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary in May.  And apart a few months at the very beginning of our marriage (when we used NFP to postpone a pregnancy), we've been open to life the entire time.  We have never ever had a surprise pregnancy or even an occasion for me to buy a pregnancy test (I'm talking other than after embryo transfers).  Things are just like clockwork for me.

And yet I still occasionally dream of one day getting a positive test. 

Hope does not ebb and flow like it used too.  I don't dissolve into a heap of tears with every cycle day one like I used to years ago.  I'm not expecting us to get pregnant.  A natural conception would truly be an act of God.

Regardless of how impossible that may seem to the human brain, my heart still has a place for hope.  To be honest, my recent daydreaming kind of caught me off guard.  I didn't expect to still yearn for what should be viewed as an impossible feat.  It put me in a odd place, experiencing hope yet not feeling any bitterness or disappointment when cycle day one rolled around once again.  It was, in a sense, a child-like hope.

I was sharing our "how we met" story with a woman at church.  She had a good laugh at the origins of our relationship and pointed out how clearly God has had a plan set aside for us.  Yes, so what if Bryan had planned on being a priest from when he was five until he was eighteen.  God clearly had other plans for him and made those plans abundantly clear.  Army life in all its trials and tribulations seems like a breeze compared to the unemployment and despair experienced early in our marriage.  God set a path before us and made it abundantly clear.  Isn't it funny how hindsight works? 

My college class's tenth reunion is coming up and it's made me think.  Is this where I expected myself to be?  No, not really.  I think the only thing that would not surprise twenty-one year old me is the identity of my spouse.  And since we got married six days after graduation, that's kind of a gimme.  Despite the differences between my dreams and my reality, I can clearly see the hand of God on me, on us.    The heights of joy are only made more powerful by the preceding plummets of turmoil and stress and pain.  Ultimately I wouldn't change anything.

"When we dictate interiorly the conditions of our happiness, our very dreams become an enemy.  We assume that we have a right to have things go the way we planned and when they don't, we feel that life is cheating us:  "I was looking forward to this so much, and now I feel let down."

"In such instances, I try to recall the title of C. S.  Lewis' book, Surprised by Joy, and I try to let myself be surprised by joy.  I think you'll find that the deepest and most beautiful moments in life won't necessarily be those you've planned, but those which are unexpectedly showered upon you like mysterious gifts."                                               Alice von Hildebrand, By Love Refined

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Status Update

Well, it's been a while since I've written about anything remotely related to adoption.  Guess I should get back to the original purpose of this blog.  ;-)

You may recall that way back in the spring we were actually matched with two different families.  We had originally requested one larger set of embryos but that proved to be too difficult.  So instead we were matched with two smaller sets of embryos:  Set A, three day 3's from 1998, and Set B, two day 6's from 2003.

Paperwork progressed flawlessly with Set A and that's the set we transferred in May. 

There were multiple delays in processing paperwork with Set B and so we finally issued a sort of ultimatum through the adoption agency - please resolve all issues by end of July or we may be forced to reconsider this match.  Perhaps this was harsh, but the original paperwork requests went out in March!

In the meanwhile, I did some digging, trying to figure out exactly what our clinic was requiring and why the genetic father was having such a difficult time wrapping up his end of things.  First he just wasn't doing anything with his screening request.  Finally, by end of June/beginning of July, he took his infectious disease screening (IDS) packet to two different locations and was denied the testing.

Our current clinic here requires all genetic parents to submit current IDS results before the clinic will accept the embryos into their facility.  I didn't remember doing this in 2009 with our first transfers, so I got further clarification from the Snowflake Program.

Within the last few years, one of the government agencies (can't remember now which one it was) recommended that all fertility clinics obtain current IDS results from all donating parties for embryos created from 2005 to the present.  Genetic parents already submit IDS results prior to the collection of gametes, so this would essentially be a repeat test.  Our clinic, for the sake of thoroughness I guess, was trying to collect this data from all genetic parents, regardless of the date of origination.  If you'll notice, both of our adopted sets are outside of the recommended window.

Given these difficulties, our agency presented another option:  we, the adopting parents, could sign a waiver and bypass the retesting of the genetic father.  The adoption agency had already cleared this route with the clinic.  It's times like these when I GREATLY appreciate working with an agency rather than trying to navigate all of this on my own.  I may have pulled my hair out in frustration without the agency as mediators!

We are now all squared away on paperwork.  If finances and life in general allowed it, then we could already be prepping now for a September transfer.  We're not.

As much as it pains me to wait, the pressures of Bryan's job and our finances are pushing us to wait a few more months.

I think, tentatively speaking, that we hope to do our next transfer the week before Thanksgiving.  The embryos won't be shipped from their storage facility to our clinic until I start meds.  And, by my estimate, I won't start meds until the cycle prior so approximately early-mid October. 

I hate waiting, I really do.  But I know I had to make some mature adult decisions about the timing of this transfer.  Sometimes, I don't like being an adult.

In the meanwhile, I'm trying really hard to just live in the moment and embrace life as it is now.  The possibility of failure is much more real than it ever was before, so I'm trying hard to just shut that out. 

I'm collecting a group of women to run a women's only mud run at the end of September.  I'm going on walks most days and exercising more.  I'm playing board games and t-ball with the kids while singing loudly to Disney songs on Pandora.  I'm scheming up ways to make a preschool co-op happen with families from church. 

And at the end of each day I'm writing things I'm thankful for in a little bedside journal.  I'm doing my darndest to stay positive, stay optimistic, and have HOPE.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Interviewing kids

I've been trying to formulate a reflective post on the fact that the kids are now three.  And it just hasn't been happening.  I decided to involve the kids in the process and interview them instead.  After asking a question, if I didn't immediately get a response, I'd turn it into a multiple choice question to get some thoughts flowing.

When was your birthday? 
Mac - last month in July; Cora - July 18

How old are you?
Both - FWEE!! Fingers held high.

What are your favorite movies? 
Both - Mulan, Tigger Movie, the Heffalump movie, Nemo.  (Then they went on and listed every movie they could remember in our entertainment center, most of which they hadn't seen:  Bugs, Cars, Incredibles...)

What's your favorite color?
Mac - blue, like firemen wear; Cora - blue

What's your favorite thing to eat?
Mac - noodles; Cora - yogurt (decision possibly influenced by the fact we were eating yogurt at the time)

What's your favorite fruit?
Both - all fruits!

What's your favorite veggie?
Mac - NO!  Cora - salad, green beans (she likes them raw), french fries  :-)

Mac, describe what Cora looks like.
She has green eyes, brown hair it's straight and curly and long.  She's tall.  She's kinda loud at nighttime (she's been snoring terribly lately)

Cora, describe what Mac looks like.
He has blue eyes and light brown hair.  It's short and curly.  He's tall.  He has loud feet and a loud mouth.

Note - both kids are about 41 inches tall and 46 pounds.  They tower over their other three year old friends and are much closer in size to their five year old friends.  They wear size 13 shoes and clothes that are usually at least a size 6.

What are some of your favorite things to do at home?
Mac - make pillow caves, play Busy Town especially when the pigs eat, play on the ipad, puzzles, legos, watch movies and eat popcorn
Cora - color pictures, watch movies and eat popcorn, play with my babies, play with Hank (the dog), puzzles, ipad, play Busy Town, bounce my basketballs

What does Daddy do?
Mac - clean dishes and go to work and play Busy Town and sleep.  He's a soldier.

What does Momma do?
Cora - clean dishes, give Mac and Cora a bath, clean fans (what we had just done that morning), put me to bed

How old is Momma?
Both - one

How old is Daddy?
Both - one

How old is Hank?
Mac - no numbers; Cora - two (I'm intrigued that the dog is older than both Bryan and I)

What is Daddy's name?
Both - Bryan

What is Momma's name?
Mac - Andra (written phonetically)

What do you want to be when you grow up?  How many kids will you have?
Mac - a fireman; firemen don't have kids
Cora - a doctor with five kids

I think next time I interview the kids, I may try to separate them.  I asked questions over breakfast today and Mac burst out with all his answers, even when I tried to address them specifically to Cora.

They both know our address, but I'm not writing that for the obvious privacy reasons.  Actually they're quite in tune with street names and can give directions to our normal destinations (groceries, library, pet store...)

The memory of a three year old is pretty incredible.  Both Cora and Mac know their basic prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, O My Jesus, and grace, plus the various Mass responses/prayers).  Cora can sing her version of the Salve Regina.

They have picked up random tidbits from tv, like the colors of the rainbow and that milk comes from cow udders. 

We read a lot of books but they don't have any lasting favorites. Or perhaps I should say all books are their favorites? 

Overall, they have very inquisitive minds and I try, as best I can, to answer their queries.  Lately they've been very interested in spelling words.  I've started keeping notecards near the kitchen table.  This way I can draw a simple picture and label it so we can "practice reading and spelling" while the meal wraps up. 

Bonus - best picture ever.  If you'll notice, Mac's birthday present is packaged in a diaper box.  Oh, if you could have heard his indignation upon unwrapping a big box only to find what he thought was a box of diapers!  It wasn't. It was trains.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I posted some dire pleas for help on the ole faceb.ook the other day, bemoaning the child sleep situation.  I've read books, scoured the internet, examined our own lifestyles and habits, and have come up with something that is working for us.  Well, working better at least.

In short, the problem was that since the beginning of summer (and our move to this new house), the kids were taking FOREVER to go to sleep each night.  And then naps were horrendous crying messes because they were overtired.  And then a certain little girl regressed horribly in the bladder control department because she was so tired all the time.  And the hissyfits.  OH, the hissyfits.

Highlights from my research:  the average three year old needs between 12 - 13 hours of total sleep per day.  Some kids nap, many don't at this age.  Just keep in mind the overall total needed sleep per day. 

Another highlight, perhaps obvious in its simplicity - consistency is key.  Whatever your method, whatever the routine, whatever the wake-up/go-down times, keep them consistent.

After many trials and tribulations, the kids are now going to sleep by 9:00 each night and around 7:00 in the morning.  Naps are around two hours in length.

I had mistakenly thought before that since the kids were still up and running around at 8:30 each night that they weren't tired enough to go to sleep.  We'd do our routine and the kids weren't going to sleep until 9:30 or 9:45 each night (which left both the kids and us parents EXHAUSTED). 

To combat this, we've actually lengthened our nighttime routine and moved the start time up earlier.  It's a long routine, but it allows us to shift gradually from playtime to sleep mode.

We've also instituted a "ticket" system.  Each child has three "tickets" to come out of their room.  If they have tickets left when it's time to get up, then they earn five minutes on the ipad (ipad is really the only consistent motivator for Cora).  If either one gets up four times (one time after the tickets are gone), then we put the child-proof door knob on the door.  (I take it off when I go to bed.)  Mac can take the door knob off, but for whatever reason he won't do it when he's tired.  And it's totally dark.

At 7:30 ish, Bryan's phone quacks.  This is the "clean-up" alarm.  The kids are "paid" for their clean-up efforts with skittles (0-3 depending on the quality of job and extent of mess).  Then it's ipad time - set another timer, each kid gets five minutes.  Then it's time to go potty, brush teeth, and put on pjs.

We settle into their room and read books.  Say prayers, climb into bed, and turn out the lights.  But wait, there's more!

The following are the new additions which further the theme of quiet and calm before bed.  Oh, side note, Cora and Mac share a room and will indefinitely.

With the lights off but the bedroom door open, we parents split up and say goodnight/give blessings to each child individually.  Okay, the only new part here is the lights are off for this phase.

Next we each lay (lie?  I have never learned a trick to use lay/lie correctly) down with a child.  We switch out nightly whom we lay/lie/whatever with.  We snuggle for a few minutes and just whisper quietly with the child about their day or if "they have any questions" (we always get "what are we doing tomorrow?").  Then we sing the Salve Regina while rubbing a back or tummy, or holding a hand. 

One last kiss for each child and then one parent (and the dog) leave.

We really had struggled with what happened after we left the room - it had become playtime part 4000.  We tried staying in there but if a parent is there, then you are the focus of attention, the target.  And we found ourselves losing our tempers long before the kids lost interest.

Now, after reiterating the rules off and on throughout the day, the kids know to stay in their own beds while the remaining parent says the rosary.  We just say it softly, not expecting the kids to participate like they do with regular prayers.  After the rosary is over, the remaining parent tiptoes out.  Usually it's about 8:45 or a little after by this time.

About 75% of the time, Cora is asleep before the end of the rosary.  Mac frequently gets up four times right in a row after the rosary concludes and "earns" himself the door knob, but then goes to sleep without a peep.  It's like he has this compulsion to use all the cards each night.  Ever since we tacked on the rosary, both kids have been asleep by 9:00.  please don't let me jinx myself!

After much thought, I tackled naps too.  The kids are put in separate rooms for naps, which helps immensely.  Other than that one day when they realized if they yelled loudly enough, they could hear each other...

I moved nap time up slightly earlier so I could wake them earlier. They nap on the average for about two hours, usually from around 1:30 - 3:30.   plan was foiled today by an over eager boy who decided to wake his sister whom he missed so very dearly

Overall, it's a huge improvement.  Hissyfits have been reduced, though I haven't discovered a magic cure for those.  Bladder control for little girls is dramatically better.  In all, the kids are just more pleasant to be around now.  :-)  And I'm more pleasant too.


Thursday, July 25, 2013


Would you believe it?  The twins went and turned three on me.  How could that happen?!

I'll post on their developments soon, but for now I'll just reminisce on their party. 

Being a military family, I know my kids won't be able to celebrate with friends every year.  We'll move, friends will move, it just won't always be able to happen.  With that knowledge, I wanted to do this party up a little bit. 

After much discussion, the kids and I decided on a pirate theme, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, to be exact.  Last year we didn't have a party (had only lived in Texas for six weeks by their 2nd birthday) and so "splurged" on Step2 items for the backyard.  This year the gifts were way scaled down (hello, IKEA!) and we "splurged" on the party. 

We ended up having decent weather, an amazing feat for a July day in central Texas.  Grandma, PopPop, and Uncle Chris drove up early and were able to help with set up, like the essential awnings and loads of camp chairs in the backyard.

As soon as the guests came in the front door, the kids got to chose a bandanna for their pirate wear.  Next we had the inside activities of coloring pages and Pin the Tale on the Croc.  Can you believe that out of the 17 kids age 6 and down, none of them had played pin the tale on the anything before?

After attempting to give the Croc his tail, we unleashed the rapscallion horde into the backyard.

I organized several stations and the young pirates flitted around to their hearts' desire. 

They "walked the plank" - balance beam.

They "escaped the tentacles" - ran through a wiggly arm sprinkler.

They loved the "ship wash" - PopPop transformed our backyard slide into a ship and the kids swabbed the deck (soapy water in buckets and kitchen sponges)

They had "getaway practice" - slip n slide. 

And, another favorite, the kids got to "dig for buried treasure" - makeshift sandbox (under-the-bed rubbermaid filled with sand and stuffed with doubloons, plastic jewelry, etc).

The outdoor fun wound down with some pizza and fruit salad, just what every young pirate needs to keep up his/her strength.

Finally we all headed inside for clean clothes and then for cake and ice cream.



The dog was very helpful in vetting all guests.  And then cleaning up any spills or crumbs. 

Eventually guests drifted away until it was just family left.  And we spent the rest of the weekend recuperating and enjoying the blessings that come with good friendships. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Evolution of an Imagination

From a parenting standpoint, it appears that speech and imagination are directly related.

In the not-so beginning, there were only a few words, parroting back what was heard.

Then, we progressed on to more and more words, phrases and sentences even, strung together by growing minds.

Creative play began to grow, initially repeating things seen on tv or read in books.  We were (and still are) constantly amazed by the amount of information toddler brains can retain.

And then true original thought emerged.  Stories we had never heard before, elaborate playscapes created out of blankets or an old shoelace.  Despite what you read here, we do give them real toys too, I promise!

When they're not at each other's throats, these two nearly-three year olds have some amazing adventures together.

Wednesday - I filled up a 3.5 gallon bucket of water for the kids to play with on the back porch.  The kids alternated who was being Jesus, washing each other's feet.  "Momma, we're being Jesus, just like He washed the Apostles' feet!"

Thursday - clad in rain boots and fireman hats, carrying fireman axes and an ever trusty "rope" (the aforementioned shoelace), the kids hunted dragons for a good hour.  The story line changed a little as the play progressed.  Sometimes the dragons were good, sometimes the dragons were bad.  And occasionally, the twins became dragons and came to roar at me while I was cooking dinner.

Friday - The kids like it when Bryan or I pretend to sleep and then wake up having a bad dream.  Cora and Mac will then rush over, ask us what our dream was about, pat us soothingly, and then tell us to go back to sleep. 

             Episode 1:  I "dreamed" I was a bird in a nest and a big cat was coming to eat me.  My protectors yelled "kill it!" and rushed away to get "poison".  They proceeded to climb on the bed carrying their "poison"-filled teacups and hurled the potion at the ceiling fan, saving me from all predators.  we're not a violent family; I don't routinely, or really ever shout out "kill it!"

             Episode 2:  Mac pretended to have a bad dream.  "Momma, Momma, I dreamed I was a bowl of ice cream and someone was trying to eat me!"

I'm watching brains grow and minds develop.  And it's incredible.

Monday, June 24, 2013

How to tell your child about embryo adoption

A lot of bloggers right now have been posting their own ways of introducing embryo adoption to their children.  In addition to regular, child-led conversation, I made this board book for the kids and gave one to each of them for their first birthday.  I've shared this script before, but thought it a good idea to share again.  Plus I'm kinda in a blogging funk and didn't want to leave my blog "inactive" for so long!
It is interesting to note that going through the embryo adoption process again with the twins at the age they are (2.5) has made for some great conversations about EA, miscarriage, and even life and death.  Mac still is very sad that the baby seeds were called home to Jesus before he got to meet them.  We've named all eight of our snowbabies that bypassed our arms for the arms of Christ - Mac can rattle off all their names.  Just had a conversation about our eight snowbabies in a fast food restaurant bathroom the other day - never know when little minds will latch onto an idea!

Cora and Mac: Welcome to the Family!
Picture on each page plus front and back cover
Pg 1. Once upon a time, Momma and Daddy fell in love and got married.

Pg 2. We loved each other so much, we asked God for children.
Pg 3. God heard our prayers and said “I have something special planned for you.”


Pg 4. Meanwhile, God gave another mother and father lots of blessings – three big babies and some little bitty baby seeds.
Pg 5. This other mother and father said “our hearts are full! Let’s share our little bitty baby seeds with someone who doesn’t have any.”

Pg 6. Some nice people helped introduce us to the other mother and father.
Pg 7. We agreed to adopt the little bitty baby seeds and love them forever and ever.

Pg 8. A doctor put the little bitty baby seeds in Momma’s tummy to grow bigger and stronger.

Pg 9. Two little baby seeds grew and grew and grew.

Pg 10. And Momma’s belly grew and grew and grew.

Pg 11. Finally the doctor said it’s time to meet your babies. We were so excited!

Pg 12. You were born on July 18, Cora first and then Mac.

Pg 13. We rejoiced! God had answered our prayers and had given us two beautiful healthy babies.

Pg 14. And one month after you entered our family, you were baptized and joined Jesus’s family.

My blog header is actually the picture from the back cover and I used a different picture of the twins for the cover.  It took me weeks to get the script to my liking.  And then, I discovered that finding pictures was even harder! 
As the kids age, we've tweaked language a little bit.  Originally, I read an abbreviated version of the story above.  Remember, they got these boardbooks for their first birthday.  Bryan was deployed when the kids received these books, so the pictures of Daddy were of extra interest at the time.  The picture of their genetic siblings has always been of interest (side note - right now, we just call their three genetic siblings by name and gloss over the exact relationship) because Cora looks a lot like her genetic sisters. 
With our recent EA process, I've started introducing slightly more correct language, "womb"  and "embryo" and even "uterus" have entered our conversation.  I've used the words interchangeably with their simpler counterparts "tummy" and "baby seeds" to ease the transition. 
So far, so good, though I'm pretty sure Cora and Mac think this is how all kids come to be.  :-)


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Any way you look at it, I feel discombobulated.

I expected to be pregnant now.  I'm not.  My heart jumps a little bit any time I hear of an adoption opportunity, any type of adoption (domestic infant, sibling group, or embryo adoption).  I want to be a mom again so badly.  Cora and Mac want younger siblings badly.  Know of an adoption opportunity here in Texas?  Send me the details!

For the last month, my "down time" has consisted of packing most of our belongings into boxes as we prepared to move across town.  To relax, I'd put down the boxes and tape and research new furniture options instead.  We moved this past weekend and ordered new furniture yesterday.  What do I do with myself now?

Oh, yes, that's right.  Clean both houses and attempt to unpack our new house.  And entertain the kids who have been mysteriously waking up super early since we moved (their new room is just as dark and quiet as the old one). 

I'm not just tired, I'm weary.  To say the month of May has been stressful would be an understatement. 

Dear Lord, can June provide a respite from the stress?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I took a pregnancy test Saturday, eight days after the embryo transfer.  It was negative and I had a total freak-out, hissy fit spell.  Once I calmed down, I combed Dr. Google for information regarding timelines for testing post day three transfers.  The unanimous consensus was one cannot expect to see reliable results until, at the earliest, nine days past a three day transfer.

Hope resurfaced and I had a pretty enjoyable weekend.  We browsed furniture stores (desperately need to replace our nine year old sofa set).  Watched Doctor Who.  Went to Mass - the kids were surprisingly well-behaved. 

I tested again Monday morning.  Another negative.  I had spent the big bucks and bought the two pack of HPT's with words; I didn't want to spend time deliberating what I was seeing.  In my mind, Monday's test took a while to come up with an answer.  Given my mental options, I decided to cling to hope, thinking maybe this embryo was just a slow bloomer.  This specific HPT reads hcg levels of 25 and above.  Maybe I just wasn't quite there yet.

Got up early yesterday to drive down to my closest lab that will run STAT tests while Bryan stayed home from PT to watch the kids.  And then I waited and waited and waited.  And paced and prayed. Turns out the lab forgot to send off my blood for testing until their evening shipment.  We finally got the call around 7 in the evening that my tests were indeed negative.

Last night I alternated between feeling numb and sad.  I'm kind of past the angry stage - that was mostly over the weekend when I kept psyching myself out in different directions. 

I prayed too and from the lab yesterday (a 45 min drive each way).  I kept trying to pray for a sense of surrender, that I fully and completely place myself in God's hands.  And I just couldn't do it.  My prayer kept coming out, "God, I'm trying, I'm really trying to surrender myself to Your will.  But I don't like where I think this is headed. I still think my will is best.  I know I should surrender myself to You.  I know You're looking out for me.  And all three of those little ones are likely with You [this was before I knew the test results].  But, God, I want to hold on to my hopes and dreams just a little longer.  I'd rather pray for a miracle than surrender to what seems to be the inevitable.  I'm trying here, God, but I don't like it.  Not one bit."

In some ways, I am comforted because this loss is different.  No, scratch that, the pain is somewhat lessened because this loss is different. This was our third embryo transfer (two in 2009 and this one).  Back when we miscarried in July of 2009, I couldn't help but blame myself, my body must have been deficient in some way.  Or I personally must have made some bad choice that forced the end of that pregnancy.  I've since come to realize that a lot of embryos just won't make it.  No amount of coding or clinic predictions will make a difference.  Though I will add that these embryos being fifteen years old did not help their case.

I'm also not as alone this time around.  I have two other Catholic friends who have experienced embryo adoption; they also know the pain, the struggle, the wait.  And there are a growing number of women blogging about embryo adoption, sharing their personal hopes and dreams and fears. And successes.

There are two bloggers whom I follow whose personal thoughts on loss deeply affected me.  Jen is a fellow embryo adoption blogger; her most recent embryo transfer was the day before mine.  She wrote eloquently about their grief in an entry called "Clinging to the Truth." 

Similarly, Marie is a Catholic blogger who has dealt with recurrent miscarriage.  One of her recent entries was titled "Why God?" and it has echoed so many of the things I've felt in my heart. 

I told the kids last night that there weren't baby seeds in my tummy anymore, that they had gone to be with Jesus instead.  We're going through the "why" stage now with the twins and, inevitably, a volley of why's followed.  "Why, Momma?"  "Well, Jesus decided He wanted the baby seeds home with Him instead of growing in my tummy."  "Why?"  "Sometimes baby seeds just aren't strong enough to grow for very long.  So Jesus calls them home." "Why?"  And then I had no more answers.

taken from Jen's entry linked earlier

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Some Post Embryo Transfer Thoughts

I argued with God for some time after our transfer.  Why, after I prayed so hard, did only one embryo survive the thaw?  How could He do that do me, to the embryos? 

A stomach bug hit Cora and Bryan that evening (Mac had it the day before) and as I lay in bed that night, my prayers alternated between two topics:  God, why did you let those embryos die?  and, God, please don't let anyone else get sick!

I tossed and turned into the wee hours of the night, fuming at God through my fuzzy headedness.  I would say I argued with God late into the night, but "with" implies give and take.  No, I was arguing at God.

Somewhere in there, the haze cleared.  I heard a somber resounding voice:  Remember, Andrea, those two are with Me now.

My fuming stopped cold.  No argument held water against that.

There's a moment in Pooh's Heffalump movie when Tigger says, "You just can't argue with a word like "fraught"."  That's kind of how I felt.  You just can't argue when God speaks to you.

And then after another hour of dozing, the stomach bug hit me.

God, I know I pray for humility.  I take it back.

This whole trust thing?  Clearly, a work in progress.

A letter to our Snowbabies

I wrote this on April 25, during my weekly holy hour. Though our transfer has come and gone (more on that later), I think these words are still relevant.

Dear little ones,

I pray for a chance to know you.  I'll be honest, the mere possibility of three of you at once is terrifying.  However, I trust in God's plans for all of us, for the making of our family.

"I have loved you, with an everlasting love.  I have called you, and you are mine."  God's words to us, his sheep.  A momma's words to her children.  My words to you.

I want you to live.  To grow, once again.  If you must go meet Jesus before meeting me face to face, please do so within my womb.  Know my love, my respect for your human dignity, for at least a while. 

I pray it be a long while.  That my womb be so hospitable that you take up residence for nine or so months.

While my heart and my mind pray for your life, my soul, I think, asks only for your restoration to human dignity.  Relief from the freezer, from the frozen stasis of fifteen years.

I know the survival odds are not good.  I also have learned, am still learning, that statistics amount to nothing.  No amount of planning can make you live.  God alone decides how many of you will grace my womb.  Grace my arms.  All three of you are already blessed with the love of two sets of parents:  B. and S., and me and your adopted Daddy.

B. and S. loved you enough to recognize their own limitations as parents and sought out help.  In a roundabout way, they found us. 

We love you dearly.

See you soon, little ones.

Friday, May 3, 2013

I want to be a triplet momma

Though I do not show it, I feel things more acutely as a mother.

Back in 2009, in the time "before children", I knew each embryo we adopted was a person.  And yet it's not until now that I can SEE it.

I love these little lives even more because I can see, or at least, better imagine their existence.  Milk coma babies, snoring away - I've seen it.  Sweat tousled hair, arms flung over head in the depths of sleep - I've seen it.  Precocious mud splattered toddlers - I've seen it.  Therefore I can imagine all my adopted embryos this way.

I know now what I hope for, what realities I pray for when I pray for these embryos.  In a way, I may love these new embryos more, only because I love with a mother's affection whereas before I loved in desire to be a mother.  This is not to say that my "before children" affections were lacking, but more that my love "post children" has deepened, grown, and matured.  The growth of my family size has prompted the growth of my heart, of my capacity to love.

I pray that all of our adopted snowbabies may flourish, first through a healthy full term pregnancy, and then through an uneventful birth.  And then in daily life growing ever closer to God.

God alone knows how many of our adopted snowbabies will greet us here on earth.  Five are already in heaven, interceding on behalf of their adopted siblings. 

I cannot and will not envision life with anything less than triplets.    I cannot and will not even allow myself the "hope" that one or two may not make it.  Statistically, that's likely.  Morally and ethically, I am not a good candidate for embryo adoption if I go into it hoping not all survive.

So I pray for life.  For courage and strength (mental, physical, and spiritual).  I pray that I become a triplet Momma, because I can do no less.

Of course, it is only logical that prayers for strength, sanity, good helpers, and courage follow a prayer for triplets.

Lord, you alone know the strengths and concerns in our hearts.  Grant us life and the means to live in grace and with grace.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Green Light!

It's amazing how easily children's poems get absorbed into my brain.  "Green is go and red is stop.  Yellow is peaches with cream on top..."

The HSG slides were found, misfiled in the office.  I've longed to share this good news with you, but we made a last minute decision to visit the grandparents over the weekend.  And I hate typing on the ipad which meant the news had to wait.  So, a belated THANK YOU for your prayers!

Last Wednesday was my final day on birth control.  Today is cycle day two (hopefully last cycle for oh, at least eighteen months!) and the first day of estradiol (a form of oral estrogen).  I had my baseline sonogram this morning and everything looks as it should. 

I had my pill bottle on the kitchen table during lunch and, after questions, explained to the kids that this is one of the medicines I have to take to get my tummy ready for the baby seeds.  There was some initial confusion, as Cora thought these little blue pills were the baby seeds.  "No, no," I explained, "Momma and Daddy will go to the doctor in two and a half weeks and then the doctor will put the baby seeds in my tummy.  And then a few weeks later, you and Mac can come with us to the doctor to find out how many babies are growing."

We have more of a timeline now:

April 27 - increase daily estradiol

May 6 - next sonogram in Austin (another uterine lining check to see that everything's cooperative)

May 7 - begin progesterone (vaginal suppositories this time as opposed to the injections from our previous transfers)

May 10 - Day three Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) in Austin (all three embryos, assuming they survive the thaw, will be transferred) Since these are day three embryos and we're doing a day three transfer, I assume the embryos will be thawed that morning and our transfer will be mid-morning or early afternoon.

Appx May 21 - Official pregnancy test, at a local lab

May 24 - MOVE

Week of June 10 - Pregnancy sonogram in Austin (first head-count!)

And then June 18 - 19, our tenth anniversary trip to Sinya.  Even if we do nothing for those few days, the getaway will still be wonderful, and much needed!

As a side note on this post's title:  The kids love playing "Red Light Green Light" on their bikes.  They can correctly tell you that red light means stop, yellow means slow, and green means go.  However, on their bikes, green means go, yellow means slow, and red means as fast as you can go.  And then Momma will turn on her "sirens" and chase you and give you a ticket.  They've been even more interested in this game since I recently had some, ahem, real life ticket experience.  speeding, not running a light, and no sirens were used.  And I was very compliant, unlike Cora and Mac when I pull them over.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

One more thing

Part of me hates asking a prayer request of you, given that the people in the Boston area, well, really, all over the world, need them so much more urgently than we do.  But, if you can spare a few seconds to offer up a little prayer for us?

Lining up an embryo transfer while working with an out of town clinic has been like connecting the dots when the dots appear at their own leisure.  And then sometimes disappear.  And then sometimes the pen I'm using to connect the dots runs out of ink.

Our May 10 transfer is coming down to one, that's it, just ONE detail.  My fertility doctor needs to receive and review my HSG slides by this Friday, April 19, for our May transfer to be a go.  My local hospital claims to have mailed the slides last Tuesday, May 9.  And the fertility clinic has not received them yet.  From hospital to clinic it's maybe an hour and a half drive.  I have NO IDEA where those darn slides are.  At this point I could have walked them faster.  Not that I would, but you get the idea.

Dear Lord, I know I ask a lot of You, and sometimes I'm a little (ok maybe a lot) whiny, and there are so very many people in need in the world.  But could you please help us stay on track for this May 10 transfer?  We would so very like to meet our next three adopted snowbabies that day and begin what we hope will be a life long journey of teaching them about You.  Fiat voluntas tua.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Discussing Adoption

We're just about the only family at our church Moms' Group that doesn't have a baby.  Cora and Mac both like babies, but Cora especially is in love with them. She asks, each time Moms' Group meets, if she can hold whichever baby I'm holding.  While you can't leave a two and a half year old unattended with a baby, Cora does very well with the non-walking crowd.  We have had a few discussions on how you can't force a crawling baby into your lap though...

For Cora and Mac's first birthday, I made them board books explaining in the most basic terms how they joined their family. You can see the transcript here.

As we've progressed in our current adoption, I've asked the kids if they want more girl babies or boy babies or both.  They definitely want both and are looking forward to teaching their new siblings all their current tricks.

Today's lunch was probably the most detailed adoption conversation we've had.  I can't remember how exactly the conversation started, but I remember several tidbits from the middle.

Me:  Most mommas and daddies can make their own baby seeds.  Daddy and I can't.  Sometimes other mommas and daddies have extra baby seeds and they decide to share.  That's what happened with yall.  Another Daddy and Momma named G. and T. had some extra baby seeds.  They loved them very much but couldn't use them.  So, after we signed lots and lots of papers and adopted you, G. and T. gave us the extra baby seeds.  A doctor put them in my tummy.  One baby seed was a Mac baby seed.  One baby seed was a Cora baby seed.

Mac:  When I get bigger, I'm gonna have baby seeds in my tummy.

Me:  Well, no, you can't.  Girls can become mommas.  Baby seeds only grow in a momma's tummy.  Boys can grow up to be daddies.

Cora:  I'm gonna have lots of babies in my tummy.

Me:  Would you like to have more brothers and sisters?  In one month, a doctor is going to put more baby seeds in my tummy.  Just like when we got you, we're adopting baby seeds from a family that has extra.  B. and S. love their baby seeds, but can't use them and so they're giving them to us. 

Cora:  sidetracked, asks about the fly buzzing about

Mac:  Tell me more about the babies!

Me:  We need to pray to God to ask that He help these little baby seeds live and grow and become big and strong.  All babies need God's help to grow.

Mac:  And we can teach them to ride bikes! 

Cora:  And I'll share my toys!

Me:  Well, remember, when babies are just born, they don't know how to do too much.  They can just eat, cry, sleep, and poop.  But when they get bigger, you can teach them.

The conversation then drifted off into pregnancy stories of Mac and Cora, tales of poop, and the whereabouts of one pesky fly.