Are you ready for this?? They are ours! We have adopted a beautiful set of Embryos! And not only is the adoption complete but we have a embryo transfer date of September 4th!!! We will be transferring 2 embryos and will know 9 days later if we are pregnant! Oh man! So excited!!!
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Growing up one way or another we all learn about how babies are made. It is a “simple” as the birds and the bees. Although as i have learned it is not simple at all. It is amazing how many things have to go “right” for a baby to even be conceived. In our case with infertility it got even more complicated and now with embryo adoption we are moving into a world that most everyone knows nothing about and finds it quite confusing. So i thought that I would take some time to answer a few questions that have and could have come up.
What is an Embryo? An embryo is how we all started out in our very first days. When a sperm fertilizes an egg and it starts to divide we have an embryo, a very very tiny baby.
What is a blastocyst? Usually by day 5 of an embryos existence it stops looking like a bunch of bubbles, cells, and starts to take on whole new appearance.
What is a transfer? A transfer is when the Dr takes the embryo at day 3,4, or 5 and transfers it from the test tube to the womb.
What is a snowflake baby? Embryos that are “frozen in time” and up for adoption are often called snowflake babies. I believe this comes from Nightlight Adoptions that has been doing embryo adoption for quite a while now.
Are there a lot of embryos in frozen storage? Yes there are over 600,000 snowflake babies in frozen storage waiting for a transfer. Not all of them are up for adoption but that is the approximate amount in storage.
Have we been matched with a set of embryos yet? YES!
How soon could you do the transfer? We could do it as soon as the end of this month or beginning of August depending on fundraising, paperwork being completed and my body being ready.
Don’t you still have sperm that is frozen that you brought over from Thailand? If you are adopting what will you do with the sperm? At this point we have decided to keep the sperm in storage until God makes it clear to not.
Do you know the genetic parents that donated these embryos? No
Will your adopted children know their genetic family? There will be a portion of the contract that will allow for contact between the siblings under specific “rules”. We are still in the process of determining the details.
Will we tell our children that they are adopted? Yes we will tell them as young as the Lord leads and how he leads when that time comes.
Is there a guarantee of a successful pregnancy? No there is never a guarantee- God is the only one that knows.
Do you have questions? Send me a message or comment and ill try to answer you as best I can. I just want to thank you all again for all of your encouragement and support. Every encouraging word gives us hope and is a huge blessing. I swear every time I get an encouraging word or a donation to our fundraising i get energy direct to the blood stream! My house is so clean and Mac is getting lots of play time! It is amazing what the emotional support does to the physical body!
Want to donate to our Adoption fund? Here is the link 🙂
(Note: This post could be a mile long and so there may be parts that feel like I am skipping over some very important details, I hope to get to them in later posts soon. Also, sharing these intimate details of our lives is something that I know God wants me to do and I do it to bring Him Glory, not because it is fun. As a matter of fact this post is very scary emotionally for me. I fear rejection and comments that may bring pain. But more than anything I want to shine light on our loving and amazing Lord who is worthy of all praise and surely a bit of discomfort on my part for the sake of sharing about Him and all that He is doing in the details of our lives.)
So do you want to hear something exciting? We are adopting a set of Embryos!!! We are so excited and thrilled to be able to hopefully grow our family though the gift of embryo adoption! Right now we are just waiting on the clinic and the lawyer to make things official so that we can do the embryo transfer as soon as possible!
I understand that even though I know all about embryo adoption and know many adopted embryo children and their parents it does not mean that the average person knows anything about what this even is. So let me take a moment to explain a bit about what this is.
When a family who has infertility issues and chooses to do IVF creates embryos there are often embryos that they end up not transferring for a few reasons. The most common one is that after giving birth to how ever many children successfully using IVF they feel that their family is complete and then have to decide what to do with the remaining embryos. They have a few options; they can have them destroyed, donate to science (they will also end up destroyed), keep them in deep freeze, or donate to a family like ours who can not give birth to their own genetic children. This is a decision that is very personal to each family. Gregg and I had decided that if we made an embryo we would give it a chance at continued life in our family but this is not the case for every family.
So is embryo adoption really adoption? According to the laws we are not adopting we are simply having property ownership transferred. Weird right! This is hard for me because I see each and every one of our embryos as our babies and I see what God has created and how each one of us started. These embryos that have been frozen waiting for mommy and daddy to give them continued life are not property they are a waiting life frozen in time.
But are we adopting? I spent a lot of time thinking about this and talking to my family to get an outside view. Here are some questions that we asked to help up clarify it for us.
When our future child is born is it our genetic child? No
When our child is older will they have a chance to meet their genetic family? Yes
Will our child wonder where they really “came from”? Yes
Will they likely deal with some of the feeling that an infant adopted child will deal with ? – yes
While they feel loved by us and feel like our child will they know that they have a genetic family out there? – yes
So if we adopted a child at the moment of birth would they be adopted but this adopted embryo that will grow with in me is not?
I believe that we are adopting but it is obviously very different especially for the first 10 months. This is where I really wish there are degrees of Adopting just like cancer. For example I had thyroid cancer and it was scary but it was not as complicated or as scary as stage 4 bone cancer like my Grandma had. Are they the same? NO! But is thyroid cancer still cancer? Yes. I look at what my sister and her family are going through and what they will go though with their adoption of siblings from Haiti, it is like stage 4 cancer. There is no way we can compare right now the adoption process and struggles that each of us is experiencing. They will have issues that we will never ever have to deal with or that the kids will deal with. But there will be some similarities. Their adopted children will not be their genetic children and neither will our future children. I will never compare our embryo adoption with my sisters adoption but I am sure in years to come we will have things that we both struggle with but to different degrees.
So why not adopt a child who is already here and needing a home? All I can say is that God has so intimately directed clearly that this is the road he wants us to take, for now. Would I adopt a child who is here and in need- yes if and when God directs! It took a few years to warm up to the idea but God so intimately opened both Gregg and I up to every option and we have just been taking each step every year with Gods clear personal direction. He is such an intimate God.
I look forward to sharing more with you about our recent loss and all that God did in and through that as well as some of the details of what he is teaching us though this adoption. What a Mighty God We Serve!
I am so very thankful that in my very abnormal life I have a God that helps me though the ups and downs with Peace and His Love. He has over and over again proven that he is trustworthy and for that I am so thankful, it makes things so much easier to get through. So here is a bit about the last month and some of those crazy ups and downs.
Gregg and I had our Embryo Transfer on Mothers day and were so excited to bring two of our babies home with us, technically in me! Everything seemed to go really well and 8 days later we did a last minute afternoon pregnancy test. We had a blood test scheduled with Dr. B for the next morning but Gregg was leaving that morning for 2 days and we couldn’t wait. Honestly i just wanted to have an idea and be able to process that with Gregg while he was still with me. We were so excited to see a very obvious faint positive! We are pregnant!!! Gregg and I held each other and cried! What an amazing moment!
The next morning Gregg left for a training trip and i went to the Dr to get the blood results. This was a very nerve racking moment for us, we knew i was pregnant but were the hcg numbers at a good level or were they going to be low and concerning that we would loose another baby. God did an amazing thing, he gave me a perfectly timed visit from my sister Debra and her youngest Berea. I can not even tell you how much of a blessing this week long trip was. Gods very very special gift.
We got the call around noon that the pregnancy test was positive officially but my hcg was low at only 20 and that they are staying “cautiously optimistic.” Oh man, I hate that term. Takes a lot of the excitement away, but for now we were celebrating! We would do a second blood test to make sure the hcg was doubling every 48 hours, showing that the baby was growing in 4 days, Saturday.
I can not tell you how much i hate waiting to hear what the blood results come back at. It is waiting to find out if life will continue or if we are loosing another baby, absolutely heartbreaking. Saturday was a great morning of fun times with Debra, Berea, Mac, Christy, Mom and I all playing outside and then the phone rang. My stomach dropped and my chest got tight. I answered and prayed I would get at least a 40 or higher, i knew the doctor would want to see at least a 80, that would be doubling every 2 days. I would be happy with the number doubling at all! My nurse told us that the number went up to 50, I was so excited!! This baby was growing! Slowly, but i did the same idea with Mac so i was happy with growth at all! But they were really unhappy with the numbers and told me that the baby is not growing enough and that we would be loosing the baby so we should stop taking the estrogen and progesterone supplements. I was so hurt and shaken. I told her that i was happy with 50 even if they were not and that I would keep taking my meds. She was surprised and asked if i wanted to go ahead and do another test on Wednesday. I agreed and got off the phone.
What a weird feeling. I talked a lot with my sister and mom about how i was feeling. I felt pregnant and was happy. And I was still pregnant but the professionals were telling me to give up, there was no hope. But I knew that God was bigger than facts. The struggle got harder and continued. Debra made sure that i kept taking pregnancy tests so that I could see my line get darker or lighter. Sure enough it contained to get darker. I knew my numbers were going up and i was still pregnant but there was a real battle in my heart and mind.
Tuesday I told Gregg that I wanted to have Dr Poliakin my OB give me his opinion and maybe do the blood draw. I really didn’t want to hear more bad news and lack of hope from my fertility clinic. I need the clinic to be a place of hope, not just bad news. Later that evening ( Tuesday) Gregg and I had to take Mac to the ER to have a scorpion sting checked out and make sure that he did not have a bad reaction. As we pull up to the ER parking I see Dr. Poliakin walking out of his office right across the walkway. I walked over quickly and got his attention. I asked him if i could ask him a question. He is so sweet, he gave me his full attention. I told him that we were pregnant and before I could continue he said “Congratulations!” and gave me a hug. So sweet. I then told him that my hcg numbers were only at 20 at my first test and then only 50 4 days later. He said ” you are fine! Hcg doubles typically every 48 to 72 hours and I was right on track. I had nothing to worry over, I was pregnant and should relax. He then told me to come see him and get the blood draw tomorrow. I was so happy that he would be the one to tell me if we were indeed loosing the baby or if there were concerns or if every thing was good. He has always been so sensitive and fights for us.
Wednesday was the day for a third blood draw and the day to take Debra and Berea back to LAX and on to their home in Canada. it was not going to be a great day or maybe a good and bad day. I wasn’t able to get my blood draw until the afternoon so I would not get the results until today (Thursday).
I got the call from Dr. Poliakin’s office while sitting with Gregg (praise the Lord). My heart dropped when they said that the dr wanted to talk to me. Dr. P asked me what my last hcg was. I told him only 50. He said “Well then you are great! your now at 235!” Gregg and I were sooo excited! The baby hcg numbers had more that doubled every 48 hours. We were pregnant! For real!! We called family and texted friends! So so so exciting! It was like finding out and telling people we were pregnant all over again. So exciting. I also called my fertility clinic to let them know the good news.
Shortly after all the calls and texts were done I got a call from my fertility clinic to tell me that they were excited and that i could schedule a ultrasound for next week. I told them that because I tend to be a bit behind I wanted to wait so that we did not have a possible bad ultrasound. If you remember i had one of those when we found out i had a healthy growing placenta but no baby so super high hcg but no baby. They said that was understandable and we could wait a few weeks if we wanted. I was happy with that. But an hour later i got a call back and they told me that they were a bit concerned because of the low numbers at first that maybe this could be an ectopic pregnancy and they want to see me Monday or Tuesday for an ultrasound to rule out the possibility.
Aghhhhhh! What are you doing God! What do you keep taking away the good news! Why does this have to be a struggle!? But it is really not a question. I know that God uses my abnormal life to show me love and teach me. I am so thankful for that and keep reminding me that my goal is to glorify the Lord and when that is my goal and not a baby, life is so much better. So much easier to experience God and His peace and see his love.
So today and especially this last week, has been a real time of faith, prayer, and recognizing lies. Overall we are so very excited and blessed by the numbers! We are having a baby!!!!!!!
A lot has happened since I last blogged. We have had two rounds of IVF and two miscarages, each with there own complications and difficulties, both bringing us closer to our Lord and savior. I could write a book on the last year and all that we have experienced but ill stick with our latest adventure!
Gregg and I were excited to be able to start another round of IVF this last month. We had been pursuing embryo adoption when we got an email from our Dr. in Thailand replying to an Email we had sent a long while ago. She was letting us know that we did have frozen sperm still in their clinic! This was a game changer for us. The reason we believe that we lost our last to babies were due to genetic issues with the sperm that we had retrieved recently here in the US. The sperm in Thailand was healthy moving sperm when it was frozen 4 years ago. This was a fresh opportunity at trying IVF again with high quality sperm which would have a greater chance at producing genetically sound embryos! We looked into the costs of traveling back to Thailand for a month and then on a whim looked up the possibility of having the sperm couriered back to the clinic here in Thousand Oaks.
We meet with Dr B to talk to him about Embryo Adoption though the clinic as well as the possibility of bringing Greggs frozen sperm to the clinic. He brought in a nurse who told us that they had a service that they used to do such things and as it turned out they were picking up something for them in Thailand that week! SO we pursued that road and 3 weeks later the sperm was in our clinic here in the states! So the adventure starts.
The first part of an IVF round is the egg stimulation and growth. This is where we use injections and pills to stimulate the overies to grow and mature multiple eggs at once on both ovaries. Usually at my age we would hope to get upwards to maybe 20 eggs but because I had endometriosis surgery to remove cysts from my ovaries I lost a lot of eggs so I only make somewhere around 5 and if i am lucky more. This is why i have had to do full rounds of IVF instead of just embryo transfers.
This time around not only did I have the side effects from all the medications but I also have a very bad cold with a nasty cough. When I went in for one of my ultrasounds to see how the follicles, what the eggs develop in on the ovary, were doing we discovered that my left ovary refused to produce any follicles! This was a bit shocking and left us with only what my right ovary produces. Dr. B. said we would be blessed to get 3 or maybe 4 eggs from the right.
I am so glad that God has proven himself worthy of trust and that He has always offered us Peace. Dr. B. said we had a few options. We could abandon what we had so far and stop taking the meds and start again after taking month off. Our other option would be to could continue taking the meds and “Bank” what ever eggs I was able to make. Because we only have 4 “straws” of tissue with possible sperm from Thailand, and we do not know what they really contain, Dr B. did not want to go though all of the “straws” looking for sperm to fertilize maybe only 3 eggs.
So we prayed and waited to see what the Dr. recommended. Because we were not sure how my body would do making eggs the next time, we decided to move forward with the meds and “bank” the eggs I was making on my right side. Tuesday was my egg retrieval day and we were excited to see what God was ultimately going to do. Everything went really well and as I was waking up Dr. B came in with some amazing news! He was able to get 8 eggs and of that 5 looked mature!!! My body surprised us again! This was such good news. Dr B also told us if we were ok with it he would like to thaw one straw of testicular tissue to see if maybe we could fertilize the eggs we have! We were so excited with this possibility! Later in the afternoon Dr. B called to let us know that after spending an hour of looking for sperm they were able to find 2 very active sperm and fertilized 2 eggs! WOOO HOOO! He told us that he would like to pursue a fresh transfer with these two embryos if things go well with them deciding and if my uterin lining thickens up. Oh man so exciting!
Today I got a call that was unlike any call I have received in years. I heard a very happy Dr on the other line. “I have amazing news for you Kathleen!” said Dr. B.! After spending a total of 5 hours with the microscope they dr was able to find 6 happy sperm and fertilized 6 Mature Eggs!!!!!! SIX!!!!! This is above and beyond what we were even thinking would be a good result from this round of IVF.
Friday I go in to have a lining check done to make sure that my lining has thickened up and will be ready to grow our babies. We will also find out that day how many embryos made it to the blastocyst stage.
Mothers Day is the day that i pray i get to meet two of my babies and bring them home with me! What a special Mothers day!!!
There has been a lot going on this past 2 weeks and I am so thankful that we have a God that Loves us more than we can comprehend and loves my babies even more that we do! With every step I fall in love with our mighty God even more.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed with something that you don’t even know where to start? I feel that way with my house chores some times. This update has been really hard to sit down and write, down right overwhelming and certainly painful to relive. But I know that these posts, if only for me, are very important. It is a reminder that the God I believe in loves me even when it does not feel loving. Looking back at what God has done or is currently doing is so incredibly faith building for me. I know I have a lot of you praying for us and for that I am so thankful. I now want to share with you what God has used to grow faith in my life and the life of my family this last few months.
I apologize there may be a lot of just fact stating in this update. Its hard for me even to share the amazing things God showed me with out getting really emotional. So for now, the facts. We all know that God uses the facts to increase our faith.
Gregg and I woke up very excited to go see Dr. B and to find out if we were having one or two precious babies! Our dreams were coming true. We were really hoping for twins but obviously would be very excited with one! Gregg and I had to wait a bit longer than we normally do to see the Dr. and my excitement was turning into nerves! I asked Gregg to pray for us while we waited. Gregg prayed a very special prayer thanking the Lord for what he had done and thanking Him for the life that was growing with in my womb. Then at the end of the prayer he thanked God for the baby or babies or… even if we were not pregnant. Gregg thanked the Lord for the fact that he was in control. Only a minute later Dr. B walked in said hello and and got right to the ultrasound. It was obvious very quickly that there was no baby in my womb. There was no baby anywhere he looked. I layed there in shock. I looked at Gregg who was also taken back by the news. He held my hand as Dr. B shared with us his thoughts and how to proceed from there. I thanked him for his care. He really is a wonderful Doctor. I did not have much happening in my head, mostly just shock.
After meeting with Dr. B we meet with our nurse who walked us though the next steps. It was clear, especially after th blood work came back that I must still have a placenta because I was still producing hcg hormone, but there was no baby. She apologized for what we were going though. I thanked her and then the tears began to flow. My babies were gone.
It took over a week before the miscarriage actually took place. This was a time of sadness and proving of my faith. Gregg and I decided to go ahead with our plans to go to our yearly Tahoe trip with some very special friends. I decided that it would be easier to go thought the waiting and even the miscarriage while on vacation surrounded by good friends and the distraction. It was not until the night before we went home that I finally started bleed. It was so hard but at the same time I was so relieved. I had been spotting and that would lead to me thinking that i was finally going to be completing the miscarriage, but it was just false alarms. So in a weird way i was excited to finally be completing the process. I wanted to move on.
A week later I was at home with my mom and Mac when I started to feel really uncomfortable. I went up to my room to relax but after a few minutes I started cry out in pain. I thought that the cyst I had was bursting. I knew that I would be in horrible pain for maybe an hour but then it would be over and I would be fine. My mom heard my cries and came to my side where we both cried! Poor Mom! Who wants to see their baby go thought that kind of pain with nothing you can do to make it better? The pain got so bad that we called Dr. B’s cell phone. He told me to take pain killer he had prescribed earlier and that he would call in an hour. Thankfully the pain killers kicked in and i was feeling just fine when he called back. He told me he wanted to see me early the next morning to check on me. Gregg was on a special detail that morning so my dad offered to take me. I noticed that when walking into see the dr., I was walking on my tip toes. When Dr. B did the ultrasound he found what was making me uncomfortable. My cyst had not burst, but I had bled up my tubes and into my abdomen. It was a significant amount of blood and this was not going to be an easy recovery.
It was not. This was probably the hardest month I have had. I was in so much pain from the blood irritating my internal nerves I could hardly walk. I could not take care of Mac, I could not clean, I could not make dinner, I was miserable. I was so incredibly thankful for the fact that we lived with my parents.
Loosing my babies is still hard to think about with out tears and a tight chest. God taught be a lot this last two months and more than anything my faith was proven. I will eventually be able to share in more detail the things that blessed me and the things that showed me just how incredibly amazing and loving our God is. But for now I let him show you Himself in your own life. 🙂