Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Our Embryo Adoption Journey
It was in August of 2006 that Jason and I really realized we were -gasp- infertile. We had pretty much figured out that we were going to have difficulty in conceiving a child on our own, as we had already been trying for five years. (What a shock that is to realize as I write this story now.) We casually looked into adoption, and we were absolutely dumbfounded by the prices we encountered to adopt: $10,000 - $15,000 for Domestic and $20,000 - $25,000 for International. We began to accept that the medical interventions of the day may be needed and we made those first appointments. After several tests, it was determined that I had PCOS and Jason had low counts and motility. We were told to try an IUI. After two failed IUI's and more nights of tears and questions, we began to feel it just would never happen, no matter how hard we prayed, God's answer was no. We were devastated and sad. We held each other, we lifted one another up, we talked things over. We decided to trust God. We came to the conclusion that we were going to be OK if we didn't have a biological child - we just yearned for a child.
I began numerous searches on the internet pertaining to adoption. How to afford it, how to prepare for it, all that stuff. I didn't expect to find a site that would inevitably lead me right into Embryo Adoption. The site is Stepping Stones, and it is an outreach ministry of Bethany Christian Services. The members were welcoming and encouraging, and a number of them were currently in the midst of their own Embryo Adoption Journey. It was amazing to read their stories, plus the stories of those adopting domestically and internationally. It was on August 8, 2006 that I posted the following to the Stepping Stones message board:
“I, actually we, are ready to stop TTC. I don't want to go through any of it any more. I want romance to be because we love each other. I want to move on, and I feel at such peace about it. God has shown me His plan. If we are going to conceive, it will be because God wants us to, not because we used medicine or other painful (to me) procedures. I am not putting anyone down, I just feel at peace as it relates to Jason and I. We are all ready to begin the adoption process from either Russia or the Ukraine, depending on program changes. I've just returned home form a week of being a camp counselor for fourth grade campers at my church camp. I had 6 girls in my room this year, and THREE of them were adopted. One was domestic, adopted as an infant, one was adopted from China, and one from foster care. HELLOOOOOOO!!! Eye opener! Ask for a sign and be ready for Him to show it to you! So we are ready, please pray for us, we still have an emotional journey ahead of us, but with God, we will get through it!”
So God had “shown” me that adopting is OK, just after we had begun to come to and accept that conclusion for ourselves. God did still have an answer for us. Little did we know, it would still be a very long journey. Things went on until October of 2006 when we realized that we were simply not going to be able to afford adoption at all, and had no interest in trying to pass a home study. Once again we were devastated and began to question God. See, we figured that because God had given us a sign and because we felt such peace about adoption, that it would just have been easy and happened already. Apparently, we were still not on the same page as God.
Then in December of 2006, it was going to happen. A friend had a friend who wanted to place her baby for adoption. We only had to get the legal paperwork together for a private adoption. No home study, no agency. We were so excited. Well, four months into it, the birth-mom changed her mind, she did not want to give up her baby for adoption. Well you can guess what happened: sadness and frustration set in again. We continuously questioned God: “Why Lord?” “When Lord?” “How Lord?”
So from there it was just a waiting game, we weren't pursuing anything on the adoption front, we weren't pursuing anything on the medical front, we were just waiting and praying and living our life as a family of two. As time went on many friends and family members announced they were expecting, and we put on our happy face and celebrated with them, while yearning for our day of celebration.
That waiting period would take us to December of 2007, when we began to think back and re-discuss the idea of Embryo Adoption. It would take us back almost full circle to our IUI's when my dad first told us about the new concept for infertile couples wishing to experience pregnancy. We really began to research the idea and found many promising outlets, the main one being a web site titled “Miracles Waiting.” Miracles Waiting facilitates the match between a donor couple and recipient couple, leaving the leg work of legalities and home studies up to them. It was finally looking up and we really felt, even more then before, that we were heading in God's chosen path. Our first two possible matches did not pan out, but I knew there was still one other possibility, although it took a while to hear from them!
After Several emails, phone calls, and other communications, we were chosen to receive four embryos on February 28, 2008! We could not believe how far we had come and how close we were to finally becoming parents! Two months after joining Miracles waiting, we had our match. We still had a lot to do such as draw up a contract, arrange for shipment of the embryos, and start treatments at our clinic. This took quite awhile to facilitate as our donors live in Alabama and we had a lot to work out through email! In March of 2008 we began working through a contract, which seems pretty solid! We both had it notarized and it was another step in the right direction.
We began working with our clinic and I was told I had to get my BMI under 40.0, which I was able to do by the end of April 2008. All of my pre-transfer tests had gone well, and all was ready to go we just needed to get those embryos shipped! After several paper work mishaps, and games of phone and communication tag our embryos arrived safely at our clinic on Thursday August 7, 2008!!! The shipping cost us $380.00 and my mom stepped in and paid that for us! So we were that close, finally, to becoming parents!!!! So here is the protocol I went by: (It is kinda choppy cause I had to revisit my posts on Stepping Stones cause I didn't write stuff down!!! I recommend keeping a journal!)
August 22, 2008: Started Provera
September 23, 2008: Started Lupron
October 8, 2008: Mock Transfer: went perfectly!!!
October 23, 2008: U/S to check lining
October 25, 2008: Began PIO injections
October 30, 2008: Two embryos transferred!!!!
November 8, 2008: First light POSITIVE hpt.
November 13, 2008: Positive BETA: 247.7
November 20, 2008: U/S found one little bean.
What an emotional roller coaster to get to the point where after now 7 years of trying, I was finally pregnant!!!! We had several scares along the way. One was a trip to the ER on November 29, 2008 with bright red bleeding. I was so scared, but they found a very strong heart beat, and all was well. On December 16, 2008, it was worse, I had cramps and clots. I was VERY scared. This time it was during the day so I was able to go to my clinic. Once again, a very strong heart beat, and no explanation for the bleeding. Thankfully, this was the last time it happened! On Wednesday, February 25, 2009 we found out we were having a boy! What a joy to know and prepare for him! I still look back and am AMAZED at the journey we went through. God DOES have a plan and it IS NOT in our time, it never will be or we wouldn't have to put our complete faith and love in HIM as He requires us to do. God is good, all the time, All the time GOD IS GOOD.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I continually pray for those of you just beginning your Embryo Adoption or Infertility journey. God does have a plan, and our time is not His. Although you may think that is just easy for me to say, it is truth! God is good all the time, All the time GOD is good!!!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Jason and I welcomed our new, precious bundle of joy at 9:26 PM Saturday July 11th!! It was quite a journey to get there, and I wanted to share it.
I went in to the OB/GYN on Thursday July 9th at 10:00 AM for my regular 38 week appointment and was discovered to have very high blood pressure, and early signs of pre-eclampsia. My pressure was reading in the range of 180/100!!! They sent me to triage where I was monitored for several hours. After it was determined that Cameron was OK and having no effects, I was told I needed to stay in bed and that I could do it at the hospital or at home. I chose home! I was told to return in 24 hours to have everything checked again.
This time, Jason came with me. It was 3:00 PM Friday July 10th, and I was found to still have very high blood pressure, and the pre-eclampsia had progressed into a more dangerous (to mommy, not baby) level. I was admitted to Labor & Delivery. It was interesting at this point to see how nervous Jason was, even more than I was!!! After an exam, it was determined that I was no where near time to deliver and was in danger from the pre-eclampsia, so I was put on two meds. One was Cervidil, which was to aid in inducing labor, the second was Magnesium (Mag) which was to aid in lowering my blood pressure. This particular med also aids in slowing and stopping pre-term labor. So you can see the predicament I was in!!! We were counter acting the meds, but both were necessary!
When the nurse was preparing to give me the Mag she said that this med will make me feel like I'd been hit by a truck! The Cervidil would likely give me cramps! So the Mag was started about 5:00 PM and the Cervidil at 8:00 PM. The Cervidil doses need 12 hours to take any effect, so I was in for the night. Around 1:00 AM Saturday July 11th, the Mag did its work and I began to feel yucky. I was able to sleep and the nurses were very kind. At about 4:00 AM I needed to potty, but discovered the Mag had taken away my ability to walk on my own and needed help. This was odd, not to be able to stand and walk on my own legs. I also began having some vision problems and the doctors began to really see concern in my situation. My blood pressure had only been reduced slightly and at 8:00 AM Saturday July 11th, the Cervidil had done nothing to progress me into labor. I was told another dose of Cervidil would be given, and I would continue on the Mag, thus giving me another 12 hours of waiting to see what would progress.
I went downhill pretty quickly from there, developing a severe headache. I couldn't walk, couldn't see straight, couldn't get comfortable, you name it, I was miserable. I began to think about how when laboring finally did begin, was I really going to be able to stand getting through contractions, and would I even have the will and strength to push? I got really scared! After discovering that the second round of Cervidil had also done nothing, and that my blood pressure was higher than ever, the focus began to shift more toward my health and since I was already so scared and delirious I said lets just do a C-section! Yes, I actually opted for the procedure!! The kind doctor agreed, and rather quickly too, so I think I was worse off than anyone really let on!! This was about 8:15 PM Saturday July 11th.
I was taken to the OR and given the necessary meds. Jason had to wait outside the room until I was ready. I felt as though I was being crucified, because they strap your arms out so that you can't have a reflex and they have access to your iv's. It was an overall weird and relaxing feeling as the medicine took affect. I did have the bouts of nausea that comes with an anesthetic, but all was well. I remember the moment the doctor asked if Jason wanted to see the head and I knew it was close to being done, and at 9:26 PM Saturday July 11th 2009 Cameron Michael joined our family! I obviously did not get to hold him, but Jason got to stay with him and welcome him while I went to recovery. It was a very quick night from there and I did a lot of sleeping.
I did not hold Cameron until 11:16 AM on Sunday July 12th, because it was only then I began to regain control over my muscles and movements from the Mag. It was the most unbelievable moment, and I can hardly describe it. Slowly I began to recover and the Mag was stopped and I was able to eventually get out of bed and walk and begin my journey as mommy. We came home Wednesday afternoon, with still somewhat high blood pressure, but with medicine that will hopefully aid in returning those levels to normal. I have surprisingly through all of this not been in any unmanageable pain. I am told this is not the norm for a C-section, and that I have fared very well. I can only say that I am truly blessed by God and it is only through him that I made it through and Cameron came to be ours!