1

Our Frozen Embryo & Family Growing

When I finally gave birth to Eli, I’d came to a decision on our frozen embryo…or at least I thought I had. After all the heartache & uncertainty surrounding whether we’d ever have a child of our own, & alllllll of the anxiety over my pregnancy with him, I was at a place, & still am, that I got what I prayed for & was content. If we never have another biological child, we will still be infinitely blessed. It was & has been everything I ever wanted & could have dreamed.

Now, on our frozen embryo, my feelings were initially that I never wanted to put my body through any more fertility drugs ever again. They’re a bitch & effect you fiercely. They also increase your chances of certain cancers & that, to me, as well as my husband who is in the field of cancer treatment, is scary.

At the same time, when I saw our last two embryos, one of whom is still frozen, on my Timehop yesterday from 2 years ago, I couldn’t help but feel something for them…it’s OUR baby…or could be if it survives the thaw & the stars align…nevertheless, it’s very hard to come to terms with the concept of giving away our child….or leaving them frozen forever…or, worse yet, throwing them away.

Also, oddly, someone I went to school with yesterday contacted me asking me about fertility treatment. She shared that she had went through a lot to have her first child, also had endometriosis, was struggling to get pregnant again, & was told by her OB that, while the laparoscopy helped increase pregnancy odds the first time, it did not subsequence times…which makes me a bit nervous.

Before infertility, I wanted 5 children…& then dropped to 3 lol If it weren’t for infertility now, I’d want all the babies ๐Ÿ˜€ & we do still want to adopt. Strangely, after having Elijah I want to adopt now more than ever. When I’d hold him & take care of him in the early days, I remember one time in particular I just cried when thinking of all the babies who are left to cry & not cared for in this world. That to me is heartbreaking. I am so glad he will always know love & never have to wonder if his parents will follow through for him. I want to give that to another child who may never know that same fierce love.

For the moment, like I wrote about earlier, we have decided to actively TTC again as my OB recommended. I’ve already bought an ovulation kit & plan on using two STORK OTCs again this cycle. We’ll see where it takes us.

Again, sorry the blog is a bit slower nowadays & a heartfelt thank you, to all of those who continue following along on this crazy ride with us. We love & appreciate each of you! โค

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6

They Get It

When we were in the homestretch of our foster parent classes we kept hearing one familiar thing from a slew of people, whether they were instructors, other foster parents, or leaders of foster parent support groups. The thing we heard time & time again was, “Nobody else is going to understand your new life. No one is going to understand it because they can’t understand it. The only people who are going to understand what you’re going through are other foster parents.”

And we’ve discovered that to be absolutely true.

At the time, I thought nah, most of my friends are social workers, &/or empathetic people, they’ll get it….with the exception of a very, very few (maybe 2), WRONG!

We’ve had some bad luck starting off. Our first placement had some developmental concerns. We worried we didn’t know how to care for him adequately and whether or not he was getting the help he needed. He was quickly approaching TPR, which we were told would most likely would result in an adoption. So we bowed out. For the little guy & for ourselves.

The second set of kids we’ve done respite for over the past 3 weeks to see whether or not they were a good fit also hasn’t panned out. We were informed early on the oldest had a lot of behavioral issues & use to hit people &ย throw things a lot BUT was doing better recently. His younger brother, 6 months, had no concerns or special needs that needed met. The first week, as mostย foster parents know, is typical the honeymoon phase. It’s the sweet spot whereย behaviors are at their best. We were there for two days & then some behaviors started to come out. I made a behavior chart, created a prize box, & did some timeouts with kiddo. He seemed to be doing well with them until visit days, which is totally normal. For him, however, the breakdown from visit days never seemed to completely go away…instead it jumped him up to level 20 & he’d come back down to a level 10…& then there would be another visit day & he’d shoot up to a level 30 that would come back down to a 20. You get my drift.ย We shared our concerns about these visits to no avail. Despite it all, they had no plans of ending them.

& then it happened….he started harming our animals. Initially, he would lightly hit our Rottweiler Tyson & threw a thin plastic toy at him once. I corrected him & he did a timeout. He hit him a few other times & I did the same. This week, for whatever reason, his aggression toward them skyrocketed. He started taking it out on Sophie, our oldest & most fragile fur baby that’s a 7 pound Yorkie. He squeezed her head & her body. Again, we talked with him & did timeouts.

At that point, we knew the boys wouldn’t be a good fit for our family as this has always been the one thing we said we wouldn’t take (a child that hurts animals). The social workers were very understanding about this. We even told them we’d be willing to give it another week to see if it’s something we can work further with him on but were told they wanted to get them moved ASAP as current foster mom is at the end of her rope. They told us oldest kiddo did have some special needs in placement in reference to his behaviors & the cabinet wasย exhausting all resources.ย .

Throughout this whole ordeal, none of the decisions we made for the boys were taken lightly & they sure were not done easily. Even though we know, for the safety of our pets, we cannot take them as a placement we still feel horrible for them, more specifically the oldest. We know he is a child with a lot of trauma that has witnessed a whole lot in his short life. We know the reasons for his behaviors…but we cannot in good conscious overlook him harming our animals.

When talking about this to people, we’ve received a lot of criticism & judgement. We’ve been asked, “are you sure you want to be a foster parent?” & then, “educated,” about kids in the system. To which I say…absolutely. Not all foster children are violent by any means. And not all foster children harm animals. It was even one of the things suggested in class while we were doing an exercise of behaviors we did not feel we could work with. It was our number one & still is.

While we felt this was understandable, although very sad at the same time, the only people (excluding 2 friends & my sister) seemed to get that. The social workers at the cabinet did. Other foster parents did…..but no on else in our lives seemed to have got it. And then I thought back to those final days of classes……

“Nobody else is going to understand your new life. No one is going to understand it because they can’t understand it. The only people who are going to understand what you’re going through are other foster parents.”

 

 

18

It Is Well

“& through it all

through it all

my eyes are on you

& through it all

through it all

it is well”

After fully mourning all of our treatment failures, I’ve always believed that, someway somehow, we’d become parents one day.

Growing up, I watched a lot of Joyce Meyer & something she said has always stuck with me in the midst of hard times: “God will give you double for your trouble.”

That’s what I’ve told myself to maintain my sanity in all of this. In a world where seemingly every strung out addict, child abuser, & teenager can get pregnant when you can’t, you start to doubt things. You start to wonder why. You think that maybe, just maybe, you can’t have children because you’d be a terrible mother.

I held onto hope that, in some form, I’d get to be a mom to some pretty special kiddos. Was it easy to always believe this? NO!!! Of, course not. There were times when you may as well have told me pigs were finally flying. I’d heard promises, enough of, “I believe this one is gonna be it for you!” Especially, in the midst of fertility drugs...especially then. Do not try to be overly positive or talk sense into a woman pumped with a shit load of hormones. Just don’t do it.

While we’ve done two cycles of Femera recently & have an upcoming appt with a new RE to discuss doing an FET with our 1 snow baby, we entered the world of foster care. Going in, I became fully prepared to parent someone else’s child & give them back. I prepared for partnership with birth parents, visitations, the whole shebang. Even though we went into this in hopes of adoption, we doubted it would come to us soon. We believed that, after fostering a few kiddos, a situation where adoption became the plan would present itself. But we never believed it would be the first thing that came along.

A few weeks ago, we were asked to do respite for a seven month old baby boy. We had him for a few days & our worker checked in to see how it was going with him several times (which seemed strange at the time considering she hadn’t done that with the last respite placement). Yesterday, when he’d be returning to his foster home soon, she text me again asking about him. I told her it had went really well & mentioned that his foster mom had told me his goal would soon be adoption and her family couldn’t adopt him as they are much older. I let her know we were interested in adopting him if possible. And then it happened….she told me that had been her plan all along & she felt it would be a great fit!!!!! She even told me she’d spoken to her supervisor about it who also felt it would be a good fit for all involved.

For now, we’re just waiting to be officially approved-something our worker said should hopefully happen this week. When that happens, we can talk about how baby boy will be transitioned to our home.

We are over the moon excited & praying all works out. We feel this would be the perfect situation for us as bio mom has already TPR-ed (terminated parental rights) & bio dad is expected to have his done next month since he hasn’t followed through with requirements at all at this point.

I for one won’t be able to breathe until this is all said & done. Just trying to contain my excitement.

So now we wait….something I’m still not very good at, at this point.

If you pray, please send prayers up for our situation please!!

“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” ~Isiah 61:7

0

An Update In The Wait…..

A lot of you people have asked us questions lately relating to us becoming foster parents &/or our infertility journey.

Even though we have graduated foster classes & would love to purse fostering to adopt, we know full well this is not a guarantee & our situation may not turn into that. & that’s okay. After a lot of talking with each other, those closest to us, & lots of praying, we strongly feel that, one way or another, we will be parents by the end of the year. Whether this be by fostering to adopt, adoption, IVF 3, FET (frozen embryo transfer with our 1 frozen embie), adoption, or embryo adoption, we believe it is going to happen for us.

I’ve recently read, “However motherhood comes to you, it is a gift,” & I firmly believe that.
We may not know how but we are believing. We are just waiting to see what God has in store for us…..& that’s where we are right now.
Thank you, for following along in our journey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
&, of course, there are always infertility updates here!

6

To Our Foster Children

Dear foster/adoptive babies,

A lot of people have told me you’re going to be a difficult task. Hard to handle, full of temper tantrums, stacked with attachment issues, full of behavioral problems, and/or learning disabilities because you may have been born addicted. A lot of people have told us that, despite foster care being the absolute greatest thing they’ve done with their lives, it is also the hardest.

As we get closer to completing our classes, more and more people remind us that our lives will never be the same again.

&, to that, I have a few things to say. For one, I understand you won’t always be the easiest thing I have ever battled.  There will be court cases, meetings with social workers, home visits, visitations, & a variety of other things that come with you so no, you will not be easy…And you have every right not to be. As a social worker, I full well now the requirements for a removal and can imagine the number of things that led you here. We also understand that our lives won’t even be the same again & that’s okay. We don’t want them to be the same anymore. I know your’s won’t either &, for me, that is far more important than the fact that mine will never be the same.

While you’re with us, I will do my best to make the darkness of your situation a little brighter. I’ll love you unconditionally & provide you with everything you need….& probably much of what you don’t need, to be honest because I’m a giant child and I can’t wait to play with you….when you’re ready for that.

When you’re old enough for me to give you this letter, you’ll have likely seen those signs for sale on various websites beginning with In this house…..we do _________. So, for you, I’ve written my own below:

In This House

We love

We do prayer

We do puppy kisses

We do mistakes

We do grace

We do Once Upon A Times

& Galaxies Far Far Away

&, most importantly, platform 9 & 3/4

We just keep swimming

We do therapy

We do respect

We have adventures

We play

We do real

We do I’m sorry

We do second chances

& thirds, & fourths, etc!

We do hugs & kisses (if that’s okay)

We do SVU marathons (when you’re old enough!)

We do Disney

We do hiking

We do outside

We do I Love You’s

We do family

No matter how long you’re here, we will do all of those things far after you’re gone. We can’t wait to meet you โค

 

6

There’s No Crying In Baseball

Infertility is a game changer. The plans you had earlier in your life become uncertain & you have to start thinking about new ways to play the game.

It’s like being in the outfield & your pitcher breaks an arm somehow (forgive me, sports are not my speciality). And there you are, faced with the unthinkable. Your sure fire way to win is gone and your left there in the dirt.

That’s what infertility is like.

That, “simple math problem,” that is working so well for everyone else just isn’t adding up for you. You’re married and in a stable relationship now so where’s the baby? You’ve erased what you had on the paper over & over again, tried 5 treatments, but you still aren’t coming out positive.

So the Teacher suggests you try something new, a new way to solve the consistent negative outcome. For this problem, however, expensive tools may be required. But you may not be able to get these tools & still be left to grapple with the same problem. Back to square one, get out the eraser.

For me, infertility has been the disappointment that keeps on giving-taking rather. I miscarried. I lost my first opportunity to be a mom. I mourned as well as I could at the time and continue to do so almost on a daily basis. Then I got in a stable relationship & found my prince charming. All was right in our world….until we saw an RE to learn it was not. Back story for those who haven’t followed along thus far: we were told we had male factor infertility due to low morphology. We were told my tubes were clear & IUI would be the magic answer for us. “We’re going to get you pregnant!” was excitedly told me sooooo many times through it all. We struck out with all 3 IUIs & moved on to what we thought was the magic answer, the cure all for infertiles everywhere, IVF. So Scott stabbed me more times than I care to think about, I went through many cartoon character bandaids, the egg retrieval that was so painful, overstimulation, & the transfer…..& things still didn’t come out positive for us. So we cried…a lot. & we brushed ourselves off in good southern fashion to get back on the same horse to try again….only, again, ending with the same result. Currently, we aren’t sure where our infertility journey leads…we both feel I probably have endometriosis & are very angry I was not tested for this prior to wasting 20.000 on infertility TX’s we may not have even needed.

In the meantime, we have pursed adoption and are currently enrolled in foster to adopt classes. While we are very excited about this prospect, we have also looked at other avenues of adoption that have more of a guarantee as to keep our options open….& I have been infuriated in doing so. Not only is adoption around 40, 000, there are also requirements made up by these agencies. Requirements set up by a handful of people based upon what they feel is the right & correct way to go about doing things. For instance, you have to be married for X amount of years for most agencies. You have to be X amount of years past a divorce….I’m sorry, who are you to say either of those things don’t make us eligible to love and care for a child? Especially when millions of people who are drug addicted &/or abuse their children have 5+ so easily? But please, judge my life because we haven’t been married enough years to receive a child from your agency. Embryo adoption, for whatever ignorant reason, is the same. Same requirements with less of a price. I think the adoption cost for those ranges around 8000 plus you pay for the FET.

Not only is there the issue of a handful of individuals setting up these requirements based upon their own beliefs, there’s also the fact that I find it hard to believe that an adoption actually costs AS much as they are charging. It’s sickening really.

I’ll never understand infertility &, the more we move into adoption, I am feeling the same about it relating to the process in doing so.

At the same time, as terrifying & uncertain as infertility & adoption are….I am reminded of the following quote about baseball:

“Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” ~A Cinderella Story

 

6

What Now Infertility?

After what seems like forever, it’s time for an infertility update.

When we first learned that our 2nd IVF was a bust, I’d thought that my infertility blogging days would be on hold for a while (at least in relation to TTC). Our game plan was & is to take a much needed break from IVF & all the crazy hormones and just enjoy each other. For a month now, we’ve done just that & I have to tell you it feels good. There have been no panicked mornings at ultrasounds/blood draws. No nightly stabbings from various needles. No mood swings Ursula from The Little Mermaid would flinch from. No more surgeries, or painful transfers.

Instead, there has been quiet….well, quiet may be an overstatement while grad school & free work reign but, as compared to adding in the craziness of IVF with it, it’s quiet as can be.

&, while I love not enduring all of the above, for the longest time it felt strange to me…the pursuit of having a baby had become my life. The constant doctor’s appointments and needles had become a norm for us. Regularly reading infertility blogs & searching #IVF hashtags had become what I knew. Even now, over a month from our last defeat, not having those things that had become the norm feels strange to me. Today, I found myself searching hashtags & almost hit the IVF category again…then thought better of it and moved on to our next pursuit.

Currently, while actively pursuing fostering to adopt, I am in search of a second opinion of sorts. A few weeks back, someone had stumbled onto my Instagram account & asked if our RE had mentioned a cause for my poor egg quality. I answered that no he hadn’t & she then proceeded to inform me poor egg quality can result from endometriosis & said a friend of her’s had the same thing happen to her. Once she figured out it was endo & had surgery to remove it, she conceived naturally soon after. Curious, I looked up symptoms of endometriosis as our RE never mentioned testing me for that, or PCOS. I was surprised to find that I had at least two symptoms of it, noting that, apparently, sometimes you can have no symptoms as well. For one, TMI alert, it is sometimes painful for me to have sex. For years, I’d noticed it & thought it be a direct result from my PTSD &/or an injury I sustained during that time…I’ve also noticed for a few years now that I sometimes bleed after sex. Again, I had believed this was just another result of PTSD….but now, after some quick research, I know that both of those things are symptoms of endometriosis.

So, what now?? I spoke to a friend of mine who has been seeing a gynecologist who performs IUI’s (who knew????) & is also a specialist for endo. Unfortunately, I can’t get an appt with her until the end of June. I took the appointment anyway but also plan on mentioning it to my doctor to see if she’ll schedule a laparoscopy.

Am I expecting some sort of miracle even if I do have it? At this point, hell no. I am done with getting my hopes up & believing there is some kind of magical solution to our infertility woes. After a year of hearing the next infertility TX would surely be the answer to our prayers, I don’t want to hear any more promises. What I do want, however, is a greater understanding of why my egg quality is for shit at the age of 26. After reading the symptoms of endo, I want the peace of mind of knowing whether or not I have it.

Regardless, hubby & I are continuing on with our break from IVF for at least 6 months. At the same time, we are working toward finishing our foster to adopt classes that we are so very excited about!

Have a wonderful week, friends!