Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Starting so soon???

   It seems as if we will be ‘trying’ for our next child in less than 2 weeks.
(I know:  people have a very different idea when they say they are ‘trying’ to have kids – images of PIO shots and long catheters aren’t what they have in mind.  LoL)

            I started taking the estrogen the Dr. gave me to get my period started - but a few days later, I ‘felt’ like I was ovulating – the signs were all there.  I stayed on the meds (b/c increased estrogen has same side effects) but, sure enough – 14 days later, I got my period.  My own cycle basically “trumped” the medication.  That’s actually reassuring b/c it means that my body was getting ready to cycle on its own.  (I was very regular before I got pregnant.)  So, if things continue normally, I’ll get my period again in 2 weeks.
            We were going to wait until July, but decided do the FET with the June cycle instead.  If it’s successful, it’s another month I’ll be home with a baby before going back to work.  (I’m a teacher.)  If it fails, then we can try again in July and still have a decent maternity leave next spring.

  So, yeah – 2 weeks.  It seems unreal.  Last time, there were months of hopefulness, fertility testing, adoption meetings, paperwork, deciding on EA, waiting for embryos, lots of research, etc.  This time it seems so simple.  There is always the possibility of complications and delayed cycles and stuff like that.  But, the whole thing feels so uneventful, compared to last time – so calm – lacking in anticipation.  Maybe it’s because I know what to expect.  Maybe it’s because I’m distracted by my 8 month old.  Maybe it’s just b/c the whole process has lost its “new-ness.”
            It’s crazy to think that I might be pregnant again this summer.  A friend wants to borrow my maternity clothes – and I love to share – but I’m hoping to need them.  As I think about closing out this school year, I have to prepare for how sick I could be in the fall.  (The Hyperemesis is such a distant memory….)  It’s just WEIRD.  And unreal. 

            I’m still a bit nervous about starting again because I’m still nursing a bit.  We’ve cut WAY back – and Leah is less interested in nursing, so that somewhat alleviates the guilt I feel about cutting her off – but she still nurses a few times a day. 
            I’ve done a ton of research – and I think the risk is very minimal.  Like I said, FETs are so simple at my clinic – just estrogen and progesterone, which are naturally in the body anyway.  Breastfeeding increases prolactin, which inhibits ovulation – but since I’m ovulating, I assume my levels have returned to normal.  I’ve also read that prolactin inhibits implantation (an obvious problem) but further research revealed that it’s not the prolactin itself, but the resulting decrease in progesterone that causes implantation problems.  And I’ll be taking progesterone.  So, really – there is NO medical reason that I can’t or shouldn’t do an FET right now.
            Does it sound like I’m convincing myself?  I kinda am.  On one hand, I feel like God has worked everything out for this to happen: from giving us the embryos to providing the finances, to my consult with the one doctor who is not deterred by breastfeeding to Leah weaning herself, etc.  On the other hand, I’m afraid of being selfish and rushing things.  I’m afraid of neglecting Leah or giving her less than my best. 

            As we head into this cycle in 2 weeks – I have a 98% peace about this timing.  The other 2% - is it doubt?  Or is it the Holy Spirit telling me to pause?  Hmmm…..

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Having my cake and eating it too!

I posted a little bit ago about our Indian embryos and the possibility of trying for our 2nd child this summer.  Micah is completely excited about moving forward, but I was a bit hesitant.  I worry that we’ll have less attention to give to Leah and I’m afraid that she might be neglected once a new little one comes along.  But more than anything else, I am NOT ready to give up breastfeeding.  We’ve come through a bunch of hurdles in establishing breastfeeding, but I love it.  It still causes pain sometimes (like when I’m at work and my pump just won’t drain my breast and I get super engorged) but it’s so worth it to me.  I love how happy it makes Leah and how it calms her when she’s upset.  I love it when she is nursing and she looks up at me and flashes that sweet smile.  I was hoping to nurse for the first year, and I just can’t imagine weaning at this point.
            I knew that she would have to be weaned before beginning fertility treatments.  I kept saying “I’ll see how I feel about it this summer.”  She will be 9 months old – maybe she won’t want to nurse or I won’t love it – she’ll have teeth by then – lol!  But then I realized that I’d need to have a menstrual cycle or 2 before we could do an FET – and that doesn’t show signs of starting anytime soon.  I would have to wean her now in hope of getting my period regulated by this summer.  I definitely don’t want to do that.

            We had made an appt at the clinic for last week – just a consultation to re-establish ourselves as patients since it had been over a year since I was discharged.  We met with their new doctor and we really liked him.  He told us about our embryos (not great quality, by the way) and talked about how so much is changing in research, etc.  He asked when we wanted to get started and asked if I felt like we were ‘ready’ for a second pregnancy in terms of my body and in terms our life with a baby.  I admitted that I feel totally ready except that I didn’t want to give up on breastfeeding Leah.  Then he said these magic words:
            “You don’t need to be in a hurry to wean her.”
He said I did need to have at least 1 full cycle before attempting FET and he offered to help that along by putting me on a low dose bio-identical estrogen patch and some prometrium to get the ball rolling.  Neither of these meds would harm Leah if passed through breastmilk.  Basically, we’re going to induce my period so I can get ready for an FET this summer.
 This is really ‘having my cake and eating it too.’  I get to continue to nurse my daughter (for now) while attempting to give life to her little brother/sister.  I’m ecstatic!!!!  I don’t know if they will actually do the FET while I’m still nursing, but I have a few months to worry about that.  I’ve done a lot of reading on the topic, and will continue to do so.  I’ll follow Jesus’ advice to ‘let tomorrow worry about itself’ on that topic.  In the meantime, I’m just thrilled to be starting the process that could bring us our next child!  Woohoo!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Too soon?

OK - I've been wanting to blog for quite a while.  Even if no one still reads my blog - I love going back to read it later - and it helps me to process stuff.  And there's a lot on my mind right now.
   We've always dreamed of having several children.  We initially thought we'd have our kids two years apart.  It seemed like a good time frame.  We also thought it would be great to have children in the Spring b/c - being a teacher - it enables me to spend more time at home with the baby before going back to work.  Well - as we all know - man can plan his steps, but it's the Lord that determines his course.
     When we began our journey into Embryo Adoption, we stopped caring about what time of year it was.  We 'got' embryos in November, transferred them in January and little Leah Rae was born in September.  It was not ideal for me to take leave from Sept to Jan - but I didn't care at the time.  I was so happy to be pregnant and so thrilled to have my daughter.  But it really was/is tough coming back to work in the middle of the year: both for me and the students.  And now we can plan ahead more.
     Aiming to have a baby in the spring means that Leah will either be 18mos or 2 1/2 years old when a new baby arrives.  More and more, we were thinking 18 months.  Our midwife recommends at least 18 months between births.  I never thought that I would want my kids that close, but I'm starting to see the benefits.  (And I'm not getting any younger...)That means we'd have to aim for an FET this summer - July or August - and wow, that seems really close.
   So, we started looking.  It was such a 'random' (or God-ordained) chance that we got the embryos that Leah Rae came from last year.  God had orchestrated things so beautifully.  I don't know why I didn't think God would do that again, but I doubted.  I started looking for embryos on our own.  We had an appt with a clinic in Philadelphia.  We called a clinic in NY.  We re-visited the 'embryos-alive' website.  I knew that it could take a long time for us to find embryos - so that would determine when we would proceed with #2.
   Randomly, I checked the website for our clinic.  (They don't have a waiting list, they just post embryos on the website; whoever 'finds' them first gets them, basically.)  Lo and behold, there were embryos available!!  I called my DH who immediately called the clinic and 'claimed' them.  Boom.  That fast.  We have embryos.
       Paying for them was a different story.  We are required to pay upfront for the transfer, monitoring and legal fees all at once before they put them in our name.  Well, we didn't have that much money.  But, just like last time, God worked it all out.  The clinic agreed to give us more time and God miraculoulsy provided the funds in time.  (We told 1 couple that we love and trust about the embryos - and they offered to give us the money they had set-aside for a new Porche if we needed it to bring these children into our family!!) 

   The fun thing about these embryos is that they are Asian Indian.  We have known since we began our adoption journey that God was building a family in His image - different from other families.  (I've felt called to adopt ever since I read "The Family that Nobody Wanted" when I was in 5th grade - great read, BTW.)  We knew that we wanted to adopt internationally someday.  Before we pursued EA, we were on the waiting list for bi-racial infants.  We joked about having the "united nations" in our family.  But yet, we did stuggle accepting these embryonic children at first.  I thought it would be weird to deliver and nurse a little indian baby.  Micah and I both had so many "what-if's?". 
        But we then realized that these children were 'available' because nobody wanted them.  The clinic gave us all 6 embryos.  (If there was a demand, they would have split them 3 and 3.  If others wanted them, they might have given them to someone who could come up with the fees faster.)  These really are 'orphans' - even in the EA world, they are practically abandoned; children that nobody wants.  These are the children that God has destined for us.  As I prayed to see things with God's eyes, it became very clear to me.  These are our kids.
           I seriously hope that means that we'll get to meet them and raise them.  In other words, I hope they 'make it.'  EA is such an uncertain thing.  Just because we were successful on our first attempt doesn't mean we'll be successful the next time.  (I also learned that their quality is lower than would be frozen these days.  They are from 2009, but in 2012 they would have been discarded.)  I hope this isn't all an exercise in trust and willingness and faith.  We ARE willing and we ARE trusting and I pray that one or more of these little snowflakes grows up in our family.
   Yeah - wow - I still can't quite believe that we're about to begin this whole journey all over again.  Leah Rae is so little still, but she's growing and becoming more independent every day.  If we transfer the Indian embryos this summer, she'll be a toddler when the baby arrives.  Part of me worries about robbing her of mommy and daddy's attention.  I have to remember that I'll being giving her the joy of a little brother or sister.  I'm super excited about what may come, but I still sometimes wonder.... it too soon?????


Thursday, February 2, 2012

I've missed you all.....

Wow - I can't believe it's been so long since I've been on Blogger.  I used to come here to share all my joy, sorrow, and excitement as my DH and I journeyed through infertility and adopted the embryos that gave us our sweet little girl.  I've found so much encouragement in my "EA bloggy friends" - a bunch of women going through the same process.  Now you all have beautiful children (Jen, Diane, Rebecca, Heather, Jenn, Jess, etc.) and yet you still blog!! How do you do it???
   I got out of the habit when I got so sick that I couldn't bear to look at a computer screen.  (I think I spent 4 months sitting in front of the toilet - that whole phase of my life is a blur.)  But then I started to feel better and consumed myself 'catching up' on the reponsibilities I'd neglected for so long.  And I forgot to blog.  And I stopped reading your blogs.  But I still think of you often. 

So, here's an update:
    Our first little baby was born on Sept 23rd, 2011.  She was two weeks early; my water broke while I was teaching my 7th grade class.  (Can you say awkward?)   We named her Leah Rae and she's perfect in every way - she's our joy!!! 
    We had Leah dedicated in December - it was a very special experience with our family and church family.  We're so excited and terrified at the responsibility we have to bring this little girl up to love and serve the Lord.  We know God has a special plan for her.
  In January, I returned to work full time as a middle school teacher.  It's been super hard!  First of all, I hate leaving my baby girl every day, though I know she's in good hands.  (We're blessed in that M's parents watch her most days.)  But also, she still get up to eat every 2-3 hours at night, so I'm in a permanent state of exhaustion.  I get a little overwhelmed b/c I feel like I just can't keep up with life.  But then my sweet baby smiles at me and I'm overjoyed at how blessed I am.  Sometimes it feels like a dream; I still don't quite believe that she's ours and we get to keep her.
    I wish that I had kept up with my blog.  I just spent the last few hours reading what I'd written a year ago when we were beginning this journey.  I love having a record of it.  I think I shall try to get back into blogging again, especially as we start to think about beginning to look for an opportunity to fo this again.  (That's a lot of uncertainty, I know, but as you all know - the process of finding embryos takes a while.  And I'm not getting any younger. lol)
   I've also enjoyed reading back over all my 'friends' blogs - most of you were pregnant or trying when I started to 'follow' you - and so I've loved 'catching up' on how God has blessed you.  I'm so thankful for all your encouragement!
 So, I'll try to do a quick photo summary of our last 4 months:
(I'll be sure to post a pic of Leah Rae in her Giants jersey on Sunday too........)